Real Estate

Rising home prices signal a return to normal for Atlanta

Snapshot of Atlanta real estate
Snapshot of Atlanta real estate

Much like Phoenix and Las Vegas, Atlanta's housing market crashed hard. The downturn came later than other markets, and so too did the influx of investors, buying up the city's multitude of foreclosed properties. While Atlanta is still seeing some investor activity, the market appears to be tipping back toward more historical norms.

"I think what we have been seeing in the Atlanta market over the past several months is a return to a more 'normalized and seasonally based' market," wrote Atlanta Board of Realtors President Todd Emerson in a recent monthly report.

Sales fell 10.6 percent in November from a year ago, according to the ABR, as inventory jumped a striking 37 percent. The gain could be due to rising prices, which are allowing far more borrowers to come up from underwater on their mortgages and list their homes. It could also be due to increased construction.

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"There is tons of new building happening. Builders are very active, and homeowners are looking to get the most for their homes now and transitioning into new product," said Adesola Badon, a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway.

The median home price of $207,000 in November was a 15.6 percent gain from a year ago.

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"As prices continue to rise, it will encourage sellers to come to the market. In addition, Georgia is expected to outpace the rest of the United States again in 2015 in economic growth. It is for this reason that I expect a very strong, robust spring market and overall 2015," added Emerson.

Atlanta foreclosure activity was down 16 percent in November from a year ago, according to RealtyTrac. That may be playing into the large jump in median prices, as there are fewer low-end properties selling.