Greater Atlanta Residential Real Estate: Where are We Now in Early 2021?

Kelly Stephens

Thursday, January 28th, 2021

The new year has gotten off to a strong start thanks to continued low interest rates and buyer interest after months of sheltering in place.  However, inventory of attached and detached single-family homes in the 14-county greater Atlanta area is low – perhaps an all-time low of 18,153.  Searching back seven years through FMLS (First Multiple Listing Service), I do not see another month with inventory reported at such a low number.  Usually, we expect to see inventory at around 30,000 listings in greater Atlanta.  Competition for existing homes is fierce, with sellers receiving multiple offers from prospective buyers.

Increasing activity from iBuyers, means some traditional home buyers are losing to iBuyer cash offers.  This situation is sending more traditional buyers to builder neighborhoods, as they are unable to find resale opportunities in older communities.  Here, buyers have the opportunity to select a lot, and choose a floor plan and custom finishes to build the home of their dreams.  Navigating this process is challenging in “normal” times, but it is even more complicated during a pandemic.  Typically, homebuyers must wait 4-6 months before their new home is completed.  The ongoing   economic uncertainty generates a number of unanswered questions:  Will I still have my job in six months?  Will my existing home hold its value until I am ready to sell it?  Where will interest rates be when I am ready to sell, and will there still be ready buyers? 

Many would be do-it-yourselfers are finding great value in working with a Realtor to navigate the home buying/selling process.  Realtors are trained and experienced in helping their clients figure out timing, anticipated costs, evaluating the pros and cons of traditional sales versus iBuyers, etc.  This is not a market where you want to “wing it”!  FMLS reports that from Jan. 1-26, 6,818 buyers have signed contracts on homes in our area.  Most have had a trusted Realtor at their side.  And, while we hope to never again have to navigate through a pandemic, Greater Atlanta’s professional Realtors have successfully met the challenge.

- Kelly Stephens, managing broker, Engel & Völkers Buckhead Atlanta and Engel & Völkers Atlanta North Fulton