Atlanta home prices continued their huge rebound at the end of 2013, meaning sellers are still enjoying a strong position in a robust housing market. Prices across Georgia and the U.S. have been spiking, too — but analysts say the price increases will be leveling off soon.

The Atlanta metro area saw a 20 percent rise in median sales price in November 2013 compared to the year prior, according to the latest information from the Atlanta Board of Realtors. The board’s research showed the median sales price at $181,000 for November 2014, compared to $150,000 the prior year.

Contributing to the hike in prices is the dwindling number of houses available for sale. In November 2012, there were 30,410; one year later, there were just 29,710. These statics account for sales in Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett and Paulding counties.

Statewide and beyond

Meanwhile, a look at November’s statewide numbers reveals Georgia has experienced the fifth-largest rate of appreciation in the United States. Overall, Georgia’s median home price of $143,000 increased by 23 percent compared to the prior period, according to the Georgia Association of Realtors. The number of new listings increased by 13 percent, while the average number of days a house was on the market decreased to 76 days, or 18 percent.

Georgia’s growth is echoing a trend seen across the United States in 2013.

“Although the final months of 2013 are finishing on a soft note, the year as a whole will end with the best sales total in seven years,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. In a media statement, Yun said mortgage interest rates and home prices will creep up in 2014, slowing down that rapid growth.

However, a December 2013 Fannie Mae national housing survey revealed that 49 percent of Americans think home prices will rise this year, and 33 percent think it’s a good time to sell — an increase of 12 percent over a year ago.

When it comes to buying, 67 percent think now is a good time. Half think it will be easy to get mortgage credit, which shows a slight increase over the December 2012 survey.

Predictions for 2014

So, what will buyers and sellers face in 2014? Rhonda Duffy of Duffy Realty believes that Atlanta home prices will soon level off, thanks to increased interest rates, more housing inventory coming on the market, and fewer investment buyers looking to snatch up homes. A lot depends on whether interest rates rise, and by how much. Higher interest rates mean loan terms won’t be as favorable for individual buyers, but that will cool off home-buying competition — and, by extension, keep prices from rising further.

If you do intend to buy a home, it’s extremely beneficial to enlist the services of a real estate agent who can help you navigate the process. A professional knows the pulse of the local market and can ultimately help you find your dream home.

 

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