Georgia housing market remains hot in 2020 despite pandemic

by John Yellig

After a bumpy start to 2020, Georgia’s housing market shrugged off much of the initial pandemic-related disruptions to post a solid finish to the year, with major indicators pointing to strong demand and tight supply, according to the Georgia Association of Realtors’ annual report.

“With mortgage interest rates setting record lows multiple times throughout the year and a strong drive by many buyers to secure a better housing situation – in part due to the new realities brought on by COVID-19 – many segments of the market experienced a multiple-offer frenzy not seen in the last 15 years or more,” the report found. “While markedly improved from their COVID-19 spring lows, seller activity continued to lag buyer demand, which had strengthened the ongoing seller’s market for most housing segments as inventories remain at record lows.”

Pending home sales jumped 11.3% year over year to 158,513 transactions at year-end, while closed sales were up 8.6%, with 153,355 deals.

The median sales price increased 9.8% over 2019 to $252,541, led by single-family homes, which clocked a median 10.3% gain, followed by the townhome-condo segment, which saw prices rise 9.5%.

Tight supply drove most of the increases in these indicators. The inventory of homes for sale at year-end dropped 45.6% year over year to 20,947 homes, representing a supply of just 1.6 months, down 50% from 3.2 months at the end of 2019. New listings fell 4.7% from 2019 to 185,081.

Days on market for Georgia homes continued a multi-year decline in 2020, dropping 7.3% year over year to 51 days, while sellers managed to receive an average of 97.1% of their asking price, representing a 0.9% increase from 2019.

Homes selling for $150,001 to $250,000 had the most closed sales during the year and the fewest days on market, while those selling for more than $1 million had the fewest closed sales and spent the most time on the market.

Looking ahead, Georgia Realtors expects the year-end trends to continue.

“As we look to 2021, signals suggest buyer demand will remain elevated and tight inventory will continue to invite multiple offers and higher prices across much of the housing inventory,” the report noted.

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