The national housing market is hot, cold and everywhere in between — all seemingly simultaneously. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta officially named Georgia’s capital city “unaffordable” earlier in the year, but that was only the beginning of local market woes.
In early October, the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to nearly 7% — a rate not seen in 20 years. All the while, the local market’s inventory has been fluctuating wildly as buyers and sellers continue to pivot with the latest trends.
In the latest market brief from the Atlanta Realtors Association, the median sales price for a home in the city was still quite high.
“The Median Price remains strong in Metro Atlanta at $408,000 which is up 13.6% over this time last year,” Atlanta Realtors Association President Karen Hatcher said in the report. “This continues a trend of year over year double digit increases every month since August 2020.”
This value towers over the median sales price of the rest of Georgia, which the Association of Georgia Realtors valued at $345,000 — a 15% month-over-month increase for August.
As the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University predicted, however, the soaring climb in mortgage rates caused by the Federal Reserve’s attempt to stifle nation-wide inflation has caused a bit of a cool down.
According to the Georgia Multiple Listing Service, a partner of the Association of Georgia Realtors, Atlanta’s median sales price dropped by $37,010 to a total $370,990 in September. Prices in the big city are on the decline. All the same, homes remain largely unaffordable for most hopeful Atlanta buyers.
A recent Realtor.com report revealed that three out of every four U.S. households can no longer afford monthly mortgage payments. It’s all thanks to mortgage rates more than doubling since the beginning of 2022.
To remain within the 28% debt-to-income ratio threshold suggested by most accountants, a modern Atlanta household needs to earn $116,890 a year before taxes to afford a median-priced home. That’s just shy of Realtor.com’s estimated six-figure household income of $124,000 on the national level.
According to the 2020 U.S. Census, the median income for an Atlanta household — not individual income — is $64,179 — a measly 54.9% of the necessary income.
The good news is that prices are on the downslope. The bad news is that prices are dropping because rising mortgage rates.
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