Alpharetta - Milton Edition - July 2020

CONTINUED FROM 1 Real estate


The Alpharetta and Milton real estate market has seen fewer home sales year over year through the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as the region has also reported fewer available homes in the home supply.

LOCALHOME SALES The number of homes sold in Alpharetta and Milton ZIP codes 30004, 30005, 30009 and 30022 decreased year over year from 2019-20, which is charted below. May April March


While the Greater Atlanta area typically sees increases in the inventory of single- family homes for sale in the spring and summer months and decreases during the fall and winter, the supply has not returned to its normal levels for the spring months.

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Local Realtors said the COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated the exist- ing low home inventory issue in the area, which can impact home aord- ability, but the market has seen fast turnaround time in home sales fol- lowing the lift of the statewide shel- ter-in-place order at the end of April. Maura Neill, a Realtor and regional director of Region 4 for the Georgia Association of Realtors, said July 6 that she had no listings available; every single one of her listings was under contract or already sold. “If a property doesn’t sell in the rst weekend right now, it sells in the rst couple of weeks. We’re hav- ing to mentally prepare [sellers] for how fast homes are selling,” Neill said. “As great as it is for your house to sell in a weekend or even in two or three weeks, it’s a strain and a stress, even more than usual, to think about, ‘What if I can’t nd a house?’” Home inventory shortage Local Realtors said even before the pandemic, there was a home inven- tory shortage in the Greater Atlanta area, particularly in North Fulton. In February, there was a 3.5-month supply of homes in the North Fulton area, FMLS data shows. InMay, inven- tory increased slightly to a 3.9-month supply of homes—compared to a 5.9- month supply in May 2019. This means if no homes are put on the market for the next four months, the market would run out of homes for sale in 3.9 months. Home

Although real estate agents and other real estate industry employees are staying busy, Thomas said he is concerned about another shutdown as COVID-19 cases are increasing more rapidly in Georgia and nationwide. Neill said some of her clients are hesitant to sell or buy because they want to limit their own exposure to COVID-19 and wait to see if their jobs are secure for the foreseeable future. “We do have some buyers and sell- ers who are still limiting their own exposure to the outside world. Some buyers don’t want a lot of people com- ing into their home, and some sellers don’t want to be in a stranger’s home,” she said. “There’s also a concern of, ‘Will I have a job in six months?’” Having a healthy real estate mar- ket and aordable homes bolsters the local economy, Lightburn said. A sec- ond shutdown could hurt the market more and cause another negative eco- nomic trickle down, she said. “Having the availability of aord- able housing means you have people coming in that can aord to live there, going out and spending money at local restaurants, grocery stores, gas sta- tions, everything,” she said. “If we have a second shutdown, it wouldn’t just aect real estate. We could potentially see a lot more distressed properties hit- ting the market and a lot more people not being able to pay their mortgages.”

inventory shortages like this can lead to aordability problems, said Ginger Lightburn, a Realtor for Village Realty who covers Alpharetta and Milton. “Lack of inventory can turn [the market] into a seller’s market, driving up the prices, which makes homes less aordable. It means the seller can be in the driver’s seat, knowing there aren’t many other options for buyers,” Lightburn said. Neill said she has been tell-

can make low oers, forcing prices to depreciate and leave inventory to just sit on the market.” Leo Thomas, also a Realtor for Vil- lage Realty, said Alpharetta and Mil- ton are particularly desirable areas to live in because of the reputation of the schools and the communities as well as the entertainment, shopping and job opportunities. This has made the demand for

homes in Alpharetta and Milton high— therefore making home prices higher— but the supply of homes has not kept up, he said. “North Fulton is one of the most expensive places to be in Georgia. If a house is priced right, it’s gone,” Thomas said. “Everyone wants to be there.”

ing clients in the North Fulton area that the home inventory has been historically low for the last 18 to 24 months, long before the pandemic. While she said there is more than one factor contrib- uting to the low inventory—such as homeowners staying in homes longer and

Future of real estate While May home sales in Alpharetta and Milton were still below March and April, Thomas said upticks in home sales began in June; however, many sellers are still afraid to put their homes on the market. “A lot of people are scared to sell. They don’t know what’s going to hap- pen, so they’re waiting, which is why we’re still seeing that low housing inventory problem,” he said.

being more wary of the market after the real estate market crashed in the 2008 recession—she said she tries to look at it as a healthy inventory. “A better way to think about it is that we have a healthy inventory because what is listed is selling, rather than what is listed is sitting,” Neill said. “Could we use a little bit more inventory? Sure. But I don’t think we want to get back to the point where it’s a true buyer’s market and buyers

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