Atlanta home prices up 9.8% from a year ago

Metro Atlanta home prices are up 9.8% from a year ago, while the supply of homes for sale has continued to shrink, according to a report from Remax.

The median sales price of a home sold in the region during February was $225,000, up from a median of $204,900 during the same month of last year, according to the real estate firm.

In comparison, the national median sales price was $228,700 — an 8.1% increase over the year.

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The key factor is inventory — that is, the supply of homes listed for sale, said John Rainey, vice president, Remax Georgia.

In metro Atlanta, prices saw double-digit year-over-year increases in Fulton, DeKalb and Clayton counties and the trend is not likely to reverse, he said.

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The number of homes listed for sale last month represented only 2.2 months of sales. That is down from 2.9 months a year ago — a number that was already abnormally low.

The smaller that number, the more the balance shifts in favor of sellers since there are more and more potential buyers for each home on the market. It doesn’t help that many of the new homes being built are too expensive for the typical first-time buyer.

Experts generally agree that in a balanced housing market, inventories should represent about six or seven months of sales.

The imbalance has only grown worse over the past several years. And that imbalance is driven by many things, among them the growing economy and the influx of new residents. If the balance is to be restored, most experts say there has to be a lot more construction.

The number of homes sold did not change much. During February, there were 5,759 homes sold, just 1% more than during the same month a year ago.

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