Metro Atlanta’s affordability dropping as home prices rise

Home prices and sales have soared for nearly two years, and the number of properties on the market has plunged to a record low. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Combined ShapeCaption
Home prices and sales have soared for nearly two years, and the number of properties on the market has plunged to a record low. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Metro Atlanta home prices are nearly 25% higher than a year ago, a reflection of soaring demand — much of it from deep-pocketed investors.

Last month, the average cost of a home in the metro area exceeded $360,000. A year ago, it was $290,000.

Meanwhile, incomes on average have been growing at a little less than 6% a year, according to the Atlanta Federal Reserve.

Lower priced homes on the market are snapped up quickly, with potential buyers bidding against each other for anything affordable, said Kristen Jones, owner of Re/Max Around Atlanta.

“We still have buyers who have been looking for months and have made offers on multiple properties over the asking price ... yet have been unsuccessful,” said Jones.

With relatively few homes listed to sale, only about 6,500 homes were purchased across the 28-county region in February. That’s a decrease of 9.4% from February 2021, according to Re/Max.

The bidding war is a seller’s delight. Homes were on the market an average of 30 days last month, seven days fewer than a year earlier, according to Re/Max.

Atlanta has long held a cost-of-living advantage over many larger metros in the North and West, and it still does.

Among higher-priced metros: $1.7 million was the average price of a home sold in San Jose; $1.3 million in San Francisco; $775,100 in Boulder, Colo.; $700,000 in Seattle; and $644,600 in Nassau-Suffolk County in suburban New York City, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Incomes are typically higher in those areas, but often not enough to offset the steep price of housing. The median income in San Jose is about $130,000 — more than twice Atlanta’s.

In Atlanta, the median income is about $50,000. For a household, it’s about $64,000 a year, according to the Census Bureau.

In addition to home prices climbing steadily, mortgage rates have increased and are now above 4% for the first time since 2019. Talk of other rate increases will spur those in the market for a house to buy to look even harder, said Daryl Fairweather, chief economist for Redfin.

“It’s the most competitive time in history to purchase a home,” said Fairweather.

Hedge funds and corporations have been purchasing houses in metro Atlanta, making up a sizable minority of buyers.

In the city of Atlanta, the highest priced neighborhoods are Ansley Park, where homes have sold for an average of $1.8 million over the past year, and Morningside, where homes averaged $1.2 million, according to Adams Realtors, which tracks intown sales.

The highest prices in the suburbs were in Forsyth, where the average price of a home sold was $601,669 last month, according to Georgia Multiple Listing Service. Fulton County was second highest at $544,772.

Currently, just 13% homes for sale in metro Atlanta are priced below the region’s median price of $361,454, Jones said.

Buyers who can afford the median price typically make at least $80,000 a year. And, because the market is so competitive, the down payment is usually at least 20%, she said.

Wannabe buyers who cannot land a home may continue to be renters — but that is not necessarily a bargain. Rents are rising almost as fast as home prices.

The average rent price in Atlanta is about $2,040, up 17% from a year ago, according to Redfin.


Metro Atlanta, housing market

February 2022 compared to February 2021

Median home price: $361,454, up 24.6%

Number of sales: down 13.8%

Months of supply: 1.1 (unchanged)

Average time to sell a home: 30 days (down 20%)

Source: Re/Max

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Average sales price, February

Clayton: $249,570

Cobb: $460,758

DeKalb: $444,210

Douglas: $316,607

Forsyth: $601,669

Fulton: $544,772

Gwinnett: $438,327

Henry: $362,060

Source: Georgia Multiple Listing Service

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Average prices in city of Atlanta

Ansley Park: $1,837,297

Morningside: $1,188,966

Midtown: $1,154,127

Virginia Highland: $1,141,737

Druid Hills: $1,073,940

Inman Park: $1,067,608

Glenwood Estates: $920,400

Source: Adams Realtors

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