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3 Important Trends in Atlanta Real Estate

by Peter Thomas Ricci

Atlanta’s real estate market continues to show signs of improvement, according to the latest ABR numbers

atlanta-real-estate-september-2015-abr-inventory-sales-prices-wages

September was a very positive month for real estate in Metro Atlanta, with sales up, prices moderate and inventory stable, according to the latest report from the Atlanta Board of Realtors (ABR).

The month’s numbers were the latest steps in a number of wide-ranging trends in Atlanta housing, all of which suggest a very interesting market for 2016.

Here are the three big trends to look out for:

1. Home Sales Remain Positive – Although home sales declined by hefty seasonal levels in September (dropping 13.5 percent from August), the month’s 4,262 sales were still up 12.3 percent from Sept. 2014, and more importantly, sales are up year-to-date in 2015 by a healthy 6.9 percent. Here is a graph comparing 2014’s sales to this year:

2. Prices Continue to Moderate – Home prices continued to drop, with the median price and average price in September falling 4.7 and 4.1 percent, respectively, from where they were in August. Like the fall in sales, such price declines are seasonal in nature, and hardly suggest bad things for Atlanta’s market; if anything, the declines are a good sign, as they plainly show that Atlanta is not in the midst of any kind of housing bubble or unsustainable growth.

3. Inventory Remains Sheepish – Despite the positive movement in prices and sales, Metro Atlanta’s housing inventory remains stuck in the mud. According to ABR, the area’s inventory was up just 0.2 percent year-over-year in September to 16,511 units, or only a 3.9-month supply; new listings were up 2.1 percent year-over-year to 4,528, but still down 5.3 percent from August.

The low inventory explains why home prices saw a solid increase from last year – 3.8 percent for the median and 5.7 percent for the average – and ABR President Ennis Antoine spoke to that connection the board’s report.

But as we recently reported, home price growth in Metro Atlanta has far outpaced wage growth, with the disparity as high as 20 to 1 in DeKalb County. The Atlanta market remains relatively affordable compared to the New Yorks, Bostons and LAs of the world, but if inventory remains tight and those pricing trends continue, the area’s affordability will likely slip.

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