Housing Market Review for 16 Cities North of Atlanta
by Hank Miller
on Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020 at 12:24pm.
Atlanta is a recognizable location, but the housing market for the many cities north of Atlanta is significantly different. From Smyrna to Woodstock to Alpharetta to Cumming to Johns Creek, they share little in common besides the Georgia connection. Below we compare housing prices between 16 cities broken into 4 regions.
2020 was a crazy year for residential real estate. Despite everything, the housing markets around north Atlanta treated sellers exceptionally well; buyers...not so much. Inventory was scare and competition fierce, multiple offers continue to be common. Many factors combined for this; mainly historically low interest rates and a global plague. In short, buyers exploited rates that make ownership more attractive than renting and the virus drove the desire for space, privacy and the ability to work from home. Most things changed, how many of these remain as 2021 opens up is unknown.
Below are four regions of the north Atlanta real estate market. Within that are the four major competing cities in those regions. This isn't perfect as it's broad, by city and includes all types of housing (ages, styles, price points, etc); it is a basic overview looking specifically at median sale price. It's a three year look back, it's not "go to war" data but it provides a good visual for what we've experienced. As much as possible, generally competing areas are grouped together. Again, this is broad; we can go appraiser level to slice and dice to the granular level as/if needed.
North Fulton - the 400 Corridor
Huge diversity of homes in this area as equestrian, country club communities, town homes and "regular" homes coalesce. '18 to '19 saw drops in Milton and Johns Creek but all had good '19 to'20 stats. Alpharetta and Roswell very nice '18 to '20 runs.
Northwest & North - I-75/575 Corridor
Cherokee County the fastest growing in the state. Western Forsyth is growing as well, each of these cities show that growth as the markets soar. Canton and Woodstock in particular fueled by town homes and first time buyers.
West Cobb County
Like Cherokee, west Cobb is very active. Huge jumps from '18 to '20; crazy strong for most in '20. Smyrna a bit more modest but an 8%+ jump over two years is only modest when compared to this group.
Closer Into Atlanta
Here we see a bit more stability, this is likely due to less new construction and starter homes. These areas tend to have a higher median price, fewer first time buyers and even some "down size" buyers. Very diverse uses and 3 of the 4 markets dipped from '19 to '20. The media speaks of the move to the 'burbs, this might be a factor but these are not major; '21 data needs to be looked at.
So what does all of this mean? It's a graphic display of what the media is reporting; the housing market is unusually strong. We won't have another crash, even with the virus, but there is likely to be a correction in certain segments and areas. Buyers are door knocking and some sellers are posting "make me move" offers to buyers; everyone needs to be careful. It's critical to understand the micro-market stubby pencil work, that may be contrary to the broad indicators. In the meantime, sellers hold the cards until they become buyers - and that's one of the main reasons so little inventory is available. 2021 should bring some stability but who can say? Who could see a continuing global pandemic, raucous US election, stock market crash then new highs and a robust housing market all in 9 months? Buckle the chin straps.
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