X

Metro Atlanta home prices rose in June amid high demand, few listings

Home sales often ride with the economy, but Atlanta sales grew even while thousands lost their jobs. (AJC file photo).
Home sales often ride with the economy, but Atlanta sales grew even while thousands lost their jobs. (AJC file photo).

Credit: jgetz@ajc.com

Credit: jgetz@ajc.com

Pent-up, pandemic-constrained demand brought out the buyers last month, pushing up sales and prices in the metro Atlanta housing market, while the listings of homes for sale remained in short supply.

Sales of homes jumped 31% from May to June in the 28-county area. The median sales price rose to $273,000, up 4% from June 2019, according to a report issued Friday by Re/Max.

“We are seeing low inventory, multiple offers, historically low interest rates, and a lot of demand,” said Kristen Jones, broker and owner of Re/Max Around Atlanta. “We currently have twice as many pending contracts as we did this same time last year.”

The number of sales in June was still 4% fewer than the same month a year earlier. But there is reason to expect the pace of transactions to keep climbing: More than 10,000 contracts have been signed in the region, the highest number of pending sales since the Multiple Listing Service started keeping track more than two decades ago, Jones said.

The strong June came after several depressed months in which many Atlanta residents were hunkered down, then a May in which many restrictions were lifted and economic activity was starting to rise. So June’s sales reflected many transactions that had been put off, according to Re/Max.

Among the core five counties, Gwinnett had the most sales, Fulton the highest median price and Cobb the largest rise in price.

However, the health of the housing market ultimately rests with the overall economy — the addition of jobs and the expansion of incomes. With coronavirus cases rising dramatically in the state, that broader economic recovery is uncertain.

The Georgia Department of Labor has processed about 3 million unemployment claims, and has been paying benefits to more than 1 million jobless workers. More than 14% of metro Atlanta renters did not pay their rent during the first week of July, according to an analysis by RealPage, which analyzes transactions by housing companies.

Some homeowners, too, have fallen behind on mortgage payments, but there is not a market-wide problem like when the housing bubble burst a dozen years ago, said economist Jeff Tucker at Zillow, which lists and analyzes housing data.

Meanwhile, the number of homes listed — inventory — has continued to shrink, giving sellers an ever-greater advantage, he said. “Price cuts are less common compared with a year ago.”

The number of foreclosure filings had hit historic lows in the months before the pandemic, but has edged up since, according to Attom Data Solutions. In metro Atlanta, filings climbed 15% between May and June.

June home sales, core counties

Gwinnett: 1,431

Cobb: 1,217

Fulton: 1,579

DeKalb: 991

Clayton: 150

Source: Re/Max

________________________

June’s median home price, core counties

Gwinnett: $275,000

Cobb: $315,000

Fulton: $340,000

DeKalb: $300,000

Clayton: $160,000

Source: Re/Max

__________________

Median price compared with a year ago

Gwinnett: +5%

Cobb: +8%

Fulton: -1%

DeKalb: 0%

Clayton: +7%

Source: Re/Max