Is A Home Seller’s Market Returning to Atlanta, GA?

That’s not a typo in the headline.  Could we be seeing the return of a seller’s market in Atlanta?  In some cases, the answer is pointing towards yes.  But first, we need to understand exactly what causes the home buying and selling market to favor one side over another.

It all works off the simple dynamic of supply vs. demand.  For the past several years, as the number of available homes on the market swelled, the number of available buyers declined.  This resulted in a dramatic excess of supply vs. demand which causes prices to drop.

The Atlanta housing market has been one of the worst in terms of price depreciation.  We have experienced several years of double digit price declines.  In fact, at the peak of the housing market and prices, June 2007, the average home sold for approximately $240,000.  As of June 2012, the average home price is close to $160,000 – an $80,000 real dollar loss or approximately 33%.

So, while all of this was going on so were other factors.   For example, sellers became “upside down” where their home value was less than what they owed and so they took their home off the market.  Builders stopped building because they either couldn’t get loans or were stuck with lots or houses that wouldn’t sell.  People who had to move rented their homes which again reduced the available inventory.  And, slowly over the past several years, the Atlanta home market went from 14 months of available homes for sale to 4 months (as of June 2012).  In fact, July 2012 compared to July 2011, shows Atlanta’s available home inventory to be down 38.3%.

So, now we have very little supply in the Marietta real estate market.  And, of those homes on the market in Atlanta (approximately 15,000), about 25% are distressed properties (foreclosures or short sales ) with the majority of those homes being priced under $100,000.  What does this mean?  Simply, it means that if you want to buy a non-distressed home in Marietta, there ain’t much to look at.  And, that’s where the magic is for sellers.  Homes in good condition, marketed properly and priced correctly, are selling in under 30 days!  Better yet, they are selling for 98% of asking price.

Buyers are realizing that if they want these homes, they need to move quickly and make a fair offer.  Even if the number of buyers didn’t increase, the demand vs. supply ratio has.  If you’re home a seller, you need to also avoid the trap of getting too greedy.  Remember, prices have not gone up – demand has.  If you think you’ll get the price you paid in 2007, you’re going to sit and sit.  Homes that were not priced correctly and required multiple price adjustments, average over 190 days on the market (vs under 30) and sold for 87% of asking price (vs. 98%).

Finally, home sellers also need to be aware that you need to have your home marketed correctly when listing a Marietta home for sale.  Buyers are moving quickly and looking constantly.  Sellers need to realize that sticking a For Sale By Owner sign out in the yard isn’t going to do it.  Talk with a local Marietta Realtor and find one who knows how to get you the most exposure and best position in the market.  Price, condition and marketing are always the keys to getting a home sold.

Contact me for a free market analysis and to see my 59 point action marketing plan.