Home sales in 2014 off to slow start

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The best year in home sales we’ve seen in years was 2013.

For metro Atlanta, the average sales price for both single-family homes and townhomes/condos increased a whopping 26 percent.

The big jump was due mainly to many parts of metro Atlanta declining much further than we witnessed in North Fulton and Forsyth County during the recession.

In our area on the north side, we saw more modest price increases.

Comparing 2014 to 2013, unit sales jumped 11 percent in North Fulton and 21 percent in Forsyth County. So it was a little surprising to see that so far, for 2014, home sales are down 14 percent in North Fulton and 12 percent in Forsyth County compared to the same period last year.

I suppose we could blame it all on the Polar Vortex. It certainly didn’t help that we were all hunkered down for a large part of two different weeks.

Our team is seeing a marked increase in activity since we’ve thawed, that’s for sure. But there is more to this story.

Inventory remains pretty low, keeping sellers in a strong position, but buyers remain very critical of price and condition. Buyers are willing to open their wallets and even pay more than asking price if a home is worth it, but the home has to hit all the marks.

This should be very concerning to homeowners considering selling later this spring if they will be competing at the same price points as new construction.

While inventory will increase seasonally as we head further into the year, demand may only be slightly higher than supply, which will allow buyers to continue being selective.