Atlanta's price hike beat the 5 percent average increase for the top 20 metropolitan areas, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller House Price Index, a calculation based on a three-month average.
Atlanta – along with other cities in the south and west – continues to slightly outpace the country's real estate markets, said David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P Dow Jones index committee.
The Case-Shiller index tracking national prices is just 0.6 percent below the record high set in July 2006, Blitzer said. “Seven of the 20 cities have already set new record highs. Eight of the cities are seeing prices up 6 percent or more in the last year. Given that the overall inflation is a bit below 2 percent, the pace is probably not sustainable over the long term.”
Perhaps more damaging is the threat of having prices move up faster than the buying power of consumers, said Quicken Loans vice president Bill Banfield. “Despite recent data pointing to slower sales, home prices continue to rise faster than incomes in many areas.”
Among the 20 largest metro home markets, Portland, Ore., continues to see prices rise most rapidly: up 12.4 percent in the past year. Average prices in Seattle were not far behind, climbing 11.2 percent during the year. Denver saw a price hike of 9.4 percent.
Slowest growth was in New York, where average prices inched up 1.7 percent, and Washington, D.C., where prices edge 2 percent higher.
Among the top 20 metros, Atlanta tied for the 11th-fastest growing, according to Case-Shiller. Atlanta was one of the strongest markets during the housing bubble and burst more painfully than most, suffering an estimated quarter-million foreclosures.
Despite steady growth for four years, Atlanta’s average prices are still just slightly below their peak. Some areas have seen a long lag in recovery, so there are still many homeowners who might have avoided foreclosure but are still “under water,” their houses worth less on the market than they owe on their mortgages.
Still, average prices have risen solidly, even if the pace of that rise has been slowing.
Since hitting bottom in 2012, Atlanta prices are up 60.5 percent. That still leaves Atlanta prices 2.9 percent below the peak of 2007.
Experts said the market had split – with a scarcity of sale listings among modestly priced homes and a surplus of homes for sale at the top end of the market.