Atlanta Real Estate Market – What to Expect

Buckle the chin straps, spring has arrived early in the Atlanta real estate market. While we can debate the idea of a recovered(ing) economy or a surging real estate market, for the most part we can depend on a spring bump here in the Atlanta area. We usually see things kick into high gear after the Super Bowl, this year it started as January rolled in. In November we opined about the spring Atlanta real estate market for 2016; we knew it would be active but it’s here quicker than expected with more turbulence and speed than expected.

History is always a good indicator of what to expect. Below are charts for all of the FMLS area (22+- counties) and the following cities: Alpharetta, Atlanta, Decatur and Marietta. A good general indicator for the various areas.

No surprise, days on market drop in the spring. Note the drastic drops in ’15, but also note how the peaks differ; Alpharetta peaks earliest, then Marietta then Decatur. Check out the low points – 20 days in each of those cities.

So homes will be selling faster. And as many buyers and sellers learn, they tend to sell for very close to list; from the mid 97% level to pushing 99%. Note the peak times – spring. These are of course medians but the consistency is clear and we will see this again and it feels like it’s getting higher quicker.

And the question of inventory is always out here. Spring always sees an influx of listings, the chart clearly shows the spring bump; the Atlanta graph represents a very diverse area so it’s a bit skewed. It’s clear however, that the months between April and July tend to provide the largest pool of inventory. Very predictable and it’ll happen again this spring. So what does this mean? It depends on whether your a home buyer or home seller.

This is of course an overview; conditions will vary for areas, price points and trends in each micro market. Details for 20 different markets around metro Atlanta can be seen on the real estate market conditions page.

Atlanta Real Estate Market – For home buyers:

  • Get preapproved and have the mortgage process figured out.
  • Have an experienced agent working for you; listings disappear ridiculously fast.
  • Have a definition of success; what, where, when and how much.
  • If the home is squared away, you likely won’t have much bargaining room.
  • You will pay retail if the home is well presented and cared for, don’t overpay and don’t chase. Your agent is critical to data colection and analysis.
  • It’s a seller’s market, you do not have the leverage right now.

Atlanta Real Estate Market – For home sellers:

  • Get the home in the best possible condition.
  • List with a technologically astute agent; buyers now find homes without agents. Listings must be easily found, with plenty of gorgeous photos, have compelling text and a highly responsive agent. Buyers email and call at all hours.
  • The home MUST BE priced accurately. It’s OK to exploit the market but buyers will pass on obviously overpriced homes and it must appraise.
  • Be prepared for a quick offer, have a plan ready if the home contracts in a week.
  • DO NOT overplay your hand. It is likely the most action will happen in the first two weeks and the traffic may give you a false sense of worth. Treat every offer as “the one” and understand that action can stop as fast as it started.

Many buyers are preparing to enter the market, most will be unpleasantly surprised to find that this market is different than expected. Speed kills; preparation is critical as is working with an agent completely tuned into the conditions. Sellers that present their homes properly will be pleasantly surprised…but be ready to flip into buyers because things can happen very quickly.

Questions? Need advice? Call 678-428-8276 any time or drop us an email.

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