Metro Atlanta’s spring housing market: Peak demand, limited supply

Georgia MLS: Average sales price of a home in metro Atlanta is up 6.6 % in a year, now topping $402,000
It may not be the frenzy of previous years, but late spring is the peak of the housing market, the time when the most homes are listed for sale and the largest number of people looking to buy. (Sheila Fitzgerald/Dreamstime/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

It may not be the frenzy of previous years, but late spring is the peak of the housing market, the time when the most homes are listed for sale and the largest number of people looking to buy. (Sheila Fitzgerald/Dreamstime/TNS)

The scramble is on: With the end of the school year nearing, wannabe homebuyers and potential sellers alike are in the market.

Not that everyone is trying to lock in a location so they can move before the start of the next academic calendar. But even non-parents know that late spring — usually May and June — brings higher temperatures and the peak of the housing market, the time when the most homes are listed for sale and the largest number of people looking to buy.

But even at this year’s crest, the housing market will not approach the frenzy of previous years.

There is just not enough inventory — that is, homes that are listed for sale — despite increases in recent months, to satisfy all the people who want to buy, said John Hunt, chief analyst at MarketNsight, which tracks markets around the Southeast. “Inventory is still 45% below pre-COVID levels.”

That is, naturally, good for those who do sell.

“We will continue to see upward pressure on prices,” Hunt said. “It is simply the law of supply and demand.”

Demand is higher at the lower end of the market, where potential buyers with modest incomes or limited savings for downpayments cluster to search for an affordable home amidst slim pickings.

The average sales price of a home in the 12 counties centered on Atlanta was up 6.6% in the past 12 months, climbing to $402,000, according to the Georgia Multiple Listing Services. In the past five years, the metro area’s list price for a home is up 27%, according to

With listings low and mortgage rates high, the market is slower than a year ago, the number of sales down 13% in March from the same month on 2024, according to John Ryan, chief marketing officer of Georgia MLS.

“There’s definitely a bit of cooling,” he said. “The market is challenged.”

Lower-priced homes have nearly disappeared from the dozen core counties closest to the city of Atlanta. Among them, only Clayton averages homes for less than $300,000. The second-cheapest is Paulding County, averaging about $373,000.

“There are tons of houses at $500,000 plus,” said Maura Neill, associate with Re/Max Around Atlanta. “What I would love is to have a lot more listings between $250,000 and $400,000. What are we going to say about Gen Z, that they can’t buy houses?”

But it is not just young people feeling the pinch, she said.

Neill has two older clients who are recently divorced, leaving behind a large house and struggling to find a smaller, less expensive option. “There aren’t really enough homes if you are a baby boomer or of retirement age with only one income.”

Those looking for more modestly priced homes now are more likely to look farther from Atlanta — and to snap up what they find. Sales are up dramatically in outlying counties like Walton, Barrow and Jackson, according to Georgia MLS.

Chris Eriquezzo lives Haralson County. He listed his two-bedroom Buchanan home on a Thursday. He had a contract to sell it by the weekend.

The price was $275,000 — slightly below the median price in Haralson — and the buyer was someone who had never owned a home before. Eriquezzo is buying a new, three-bedroom home for about $390,000 about 15 miles away in Dallas, he said. “We are getting married this year and we are looking to upsize.”

That move means confronting the past year’s change in mortgage rates — and the recent rise that could chase more people out of the market.

Less than 3% until late 2021, the average rate for a 30-year mortgage climbed over 7% last year, dipped early this year and then started climbing again in spring. It was up to 7.1% this week, according to Freddie Mac, which buys mortgages on the secondary market.

Buyers with less than pristine credit often pay more, said Ryan of Georgia MLS.

“I bought my house when rates were excellent and they are definitely not as good any more,” Eriquezzo said. “We can afford it, but it is a concern.”

About one in five buyers now avoids a mortgage altogether by paying cash, according to the Georgia MLS.

That’s the route that holds the most promise, said Mike Courtois, who has been house-hunting on Florida’s Gulf Coast where he says you can get a pretty nice home for $400,000 or less. “My goal is to be mortgage-free.”

But first, he has to sell the three-bedroom Cumming home where he and his family now live.

They’ve had some foot traffic and some interest, but no offer yet. The home has been on the market for a little more than two weeks, listed at $525,000, well below the median price of a home sold in surrounding Forsyth County.

With two children headed in the fall for middle and high school, he’s got one eye on the calendar, he said. “We can’t put an offer on anything yet. If this house doesn’t sell by early or mid-May, we may put the move on hold for a year.”

Average price, home sale in March

Cherokee $570,493

Clayton: $257,155

Cobb: $523,615

DeKalb: $488,063

Douglas: $373,879

Fayette: $540,205

Forsyth: $706,126

Fulton: $700,088

Gwinnett: $494,297

Henry: $375,672

Paulding: $372,989

Rockdale: $352,261

Change in average sale price, past 12 months

Cherokee: 16.6%

Clayton: -3.4%

Cobb: 9.4%

DeKalb: 5.5%

Douglas: 13.2%

Fayette: 5.8%

Forsyth: 10.3%

Fulton: 14.2%

Gwinnett: 9.5%

Henry: 5.1%

Paulding: 1.2%

Rockdale : 6.5%

Metro Atlanta home sales, a declining peak

2020: 10,273 (July)

2021: 10,213 (June)

2022: 8,792 (June)

2023: 7,247 (May)

Sources: Georgia Multiple Listing Services

A sign shows the price of the new homes available at Edgemoore at Milford in Marietta on Sunday, April 30, 2023. The peak month for home sales in metro Atlanta in 2023 was in May, and 7,247 homes were sold.
Miguel Martinez /

Credit: Miguel Martinez

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Credit: Miguel Martinez