ATLANTA – There are so few homes for sale here in Metro Atlanta that homebuyers go to extremes to woo sellers, including paying far more than asking, even offering vacations. at the beach or thousands in cash with no strings attached.
“There is a saying right now, if you would like to see a more expensive house, I will show you the same house tomorrow,” said Cynthia Lippert of Ansley Real Estate. “Prices have gone up about 1% every month right now.”
Lippert has worked in real estate for over 30 years and has never seen such an extreme market. Low interest rates and even lower inventory mean buyers go out of their way to impress sellers, including paying the appraised value of the house and gifts just to be considered.
The competitive environment comes as a shock to most of Lippert’s clients, including first-time homebuyers Chris Stahelek and Emma Briggs.
“It’s been tough, you know, probably the last couple of months, looking at two houses a week, making multiple offers and just trying to hold your head up, trying to stay on it,” said Stahelek.
The couple are shopping in northern Fulton County, one of the subway’s hottest markets.
“It’s a little intimidating,” Briggs said. “Yes, it’s definitely different from anything we’ve experienced before. “
According to the Atlanta Federal Reserve, the median price of metro homes is $ 285,000, about $ 23,000 less than the national average.
Domonic Purviance with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta said it was attracting buyers and investors from the state. This increased competition and low inventory means that prices in the Atlanta area will continue to climb. Purviance is concerned about what this means for affordability.
“Affordability in Atlanta has declined dramatically over the past year,” Purviance said. “If prices continue to rise at this rate, you know it will be a challenge for people to afford.”
Homeowner Antoinette Shumake has lived in her Southeast Atlanta home for almost a year and calls access to an affordable home a “blessing.” She said it’s more than a roof over her head – it’s also a chance for her children’s generational wealth.
“So that you can pass something on to them in the future, so that you can tell them that whatever you reasonably envision and fight for, you can get it,” Shumake said.
Shumake bought his house by Habitat for Humanity home buying program.
Atlanta Habitat President and CEO Lisa Gordon said about 350 families are on their waiting list for affordable housing.
“We’re seeing an increase in the number of people who want homes, but for us with COVID we’ve had to slow down the number of homes we’re building,” Gordon said.
Habitat must be creative to keep their homes affordable. Their latest effort is a development in southeast Atlanta called Browns Mill Village. The site was a vacant 30 acre site filled with trash. It will become a multi-tiered development, including Atlanta Habitat homes. Three model homes are currently under construction.
“For us, it just means we have to work harder to keep it affordable, especially for people who would otherwise not be able to get a home without the housing program,” Gordon said.
Whatever your budget, persistence can be your most valuable tool if you are shopping for a home.
“We just have to stay there,” said home buyer Chris Stahelek. “It’s a chore. keep hope and eventually we’ll have something that bounces in our way.
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