How bad is the current housing inventory shortage in the greater Atlanta area? It resonates when presented graphically; hearing about it is one thing but seeing the precipitous drop visually drives the point home. Why the shortage? We see several factors. The most important one is a shortage of inventory. Huh? While it may be easy to sell fast and at a significant premium, how many sellers want to become buyers right now? Record numbers refinanced over the last couple of years and over the pandemic, many renovated and completed projects while locked in, why move? For those that do, many are looking for the next house before they list, trying to avoid the mad scramble. In some cases, homes never hit the market. Word of mouth, off market sales are up as buyers and sellers try to deal with the market conditions. New construction volume remains behind the curve; pandemic shut downs delayed things significantly from permits to materials to labor. Sticker shock hitting as well due to soaring material, land and labor costs. In the meantime, the greater Atlanta market has buyers circling, looking for the opportunity to strike and take advantage of record low interest rates. Some will make mistakes and they may be significant.

The charts below are a three year look back at total inventory for the major markets around Atlanta. This is all encompassing, no price points and includes attached and detached. Figures are a rolling three month median, that's a good indicator as it levels off short term spikes.

North Fulton - 400 Corridor

NW Cherokee & NW Cobb County

Forsyth County & W. Gwinnett County

Sandy Springs & Close in OTP/ITP

Marietta & SW Cobb County

Lawrenceville & NE Corridor

Atlanta & "Greater Atlanta" as Designated by FMLS

We continue to caution buyers; know what you want, get everything ready to go, completely understand the desired market area (incl the historical and expected trends) and be decisive. Quality listings go rapidly, work with full time pros that are plugged in. Be very careful chasing off market listings; that can often be a suckers bet. Be careful overbidding and conceding too much in an offer. Buyers are paying retail now, this is the market. Few recall back around 2010 as the homes piled up; over 125K listings on the market. It got so bad that a local company had to pull down billboards tracking them; it was horrible for moral. Real estate and the economy are fluid and always changing.

Posted by Hank Miller on


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