Nationally and in metro Atlanta, a low number of homes for sale is fueling the price rise. In popular areas homes sell fast and sometimes generate bidding wars. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola/Files
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Where are the homes for sale? Metro Atlanta housing market grows more imbalanced

In the dance of supply and demand, demand has been leading – and its dominance in metro Atlanta has grown even stronger, according to a report released Wednesday by Re/Max Georgia.

Supply gained a bit in several of the five core counties in May, but there has been a marked decline overall during the past year. And the more the imbalance is tilted toward supply – also called inventory – the more of a sellers’ market, said John Rainey, vice president of Re/Max Georgia.

“More inventory is what’s needed to help normalize the market and make it less competitive for buyers,” he said John Rainey. “The lack of inventory has driven up prices presenting a challenge for many first-time buyers who may discover that the typical starter home is suddenly out of their budget.”

The median sales price of a home sold in metro Atlanta last month was $232,500, according to Re/Max

THE REGION’S PRICIEST AREAS

The region’s prices are up 5.8 percent in the past year, according to Case-Shiller’s housing index. 

The number of homes for sales in metro Atlanta now represents 2.4 months of sales. And it’s not a new problem.

RISING PRICES AND FIRST-TIME BUYERS    

In a relatively healthy market, the number of homes for sale represents about six or seven months of sales.

The problem is not Atlanta’s alone. 

The national inventory in May was 2.6 months of sales, according to the June 2017 RE/MAX National Housing Report, which surveys 53 metro areas.

And while prices rise, growth in the number of sales has been weak.

The market is simply not balanced, said Joseph Kirchner, senior economist for Realtor.com

HOME FLIPPING UP SHARPLY OF LATE

It’s “yet another indication that the lack of homes for sale is having a major, negative impact on the market,” he said. “The future direction will be brighter if and when we see a significant uptick in inventory, but that unfortunately doesn’t seem to be right around the corner.” 

Metro Atlanta inventory, May 2017 

     County   ..... inventory    ..... change in year 

Cobb County 2.1 months -8.7%

 Clayton County 1.8 months -14.3%

 Gwinnett County 1.9 months -21%

 DeKalb County 2.1 months -22.22%

 Fulton County 2.9 months -27.50%

 Source: Re/Max Georgia 

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