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Report: Atlanta’s home sales have taken a 17-percent dive over the past year

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But is that necessarily a bad thing for sellers in Fulton County and beyond?

Recently spotlighted on these pages, the five properties above had lingered on the market for 100 days or more, despite attractive features and locations.
Recently spotlighted on these pages, the five properties above had lingered on the market for 100 days or more, despite attractive features and locations.

By now, most real estate observers around Atlanta have heard the anecdotal horror stories: The choice Midtown condo that can’t move despite discounts. The $1-million Chastain estate that’s hearing crickets. The gorgeous Va-Hi bungalow nobody will touch for $800,000.

Is it winter’s fault? Seller greed? Are rising interest rates, economic uncertainty, or political unrest to blame? Or is the homebuying and selling landscape not really as bad as some examples can make it seem?

A Cabbagetown loft that’s been for sale (and undergoing discounts) since August.
Engel & Völkers Atlanta

According to a year-over-year Atlanta housing report released by RE/MAX today, home sales in the metro are indeed slowing down at a faster rate than the national average. But the news isn’t entirely bad for homeowners itching to offload their digs—and the dip might not even signal that anything’s necessarily amiss. Except for the prevalence of options.

As of December, home sales in the metro had dipped by almost 17 percent over the previous year, compared to the national average of 12 percent.

But median sales prices had swelled by 5.3 percent, to a metro-wide average of $238,000. That growth, according to RE/MAX Georgia vice president John Rainey, is double the national average. So what gives?

“Both are affects of very low inventory,” Rainey said in the analysis. “While greater Atlanta is moving towards a balanced market, low inventory and affordability are slowing down the much needed balancing of supply and demand.”

Honing in closer, Fulton County home sales plummeted by 23 percent between the two Decembers.

Yet homes that did sell moved six days quicker (averaging 51 days from listing to closing) as median sale prices edged up 3 percent, to $330,000.

That’s by far the most expensive average—by nearly $50,000 per home—of all counties studied.