The 4 major trends driving Atlanta’s real estate market in 2016

by Peter Thomas Ricci


The latest Market Brief from Atlanta Realtors (ARA) provided key context for three areas of the Metro Atlanta housing market.

Below, we delve into the details of ARA’s report, and explain what they mean for the market in 2016.

1. A Mixed Bag on Home Sales – There were 5,180 home sales in Metro Atlanta in August, according to ARA. Although that represents a 3.7 percent increase from a year ago, sales did decline 5.5 percent from July, which is consistent with the stop-and-go nature of the ATL’s 2016 buying season (especially considering that July’s sales were, in their own right, down 3.4 percent from 2015).

Even with August’s declines, though, Atlanta’s year-to-date sale numbers are still ahead of 2015. Through 2016’s first eight months, ARA has recorded 38,585 sales, a 6.5 percent increase from the same time period a year ago.

Click here and here for a couple stories that show how Atlanta’s housing market has not been consistent this year.

2. Slowing Home Prices? – ARA’s findings on the home price front were quite interesting. Although prices posted their expected gains by year-over-year measurements (median sales price rose 8.5 percent to $242,000, while average sales price rose 6.6 percent to $306,000), it was a whole different scenario from July to August. On a monthly basis, average sales price was flat, while median sales price declined 2.4 percent.

Granted, the monthly decline in prices is not necessarily a bad thing. Home prices have historically fallen as the summer buying season loses steam, so August’s numbers do not have apocalyptic implications for the Atlanta market.

3. Inventory Woes Continue – In perhaps the least surprising element of ARA’s report, Metro Atlanta’s inventory shortage shows no signs of improvement. Through August, there were 15,994 units on the market, a 4.9 percent decline from a year ago. And though new listings were up 2.2 percent from Aug. 2015 to 4,883, the market’s supply is only 3.5 months; indeed, not since 2011 has Atlanta’s inventory been at a healthy level.

4. Home Sales at the County Level – As our chart below shows, Atlanta’s largest counties largely followed the script of the whole metro area, with both prices and sales falling from the previous month. The one exception was Fulton, where a modest home price increase contradicted a decline in sales.

County Aug. 2016 Sales Monthly Change Aug. 2016 Median Sales Price Monthly Change
Gwinnett 1155 -3.83% $218,000 -0.91%
Fulton 908 -5.02% $365,000 2.53%
Cobb 885 -13.66% $250,000 -5.66%
DeKalb 681 -0.87% $252,000 -6.67%

Note: Our initial draft did not consider any data revisions; ARA has provided us with fresh statistics, and our story has been updated to accommodate those numbers.

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