Georgia surprised the nation in the 2020 election by delivering electoral votes that were decisive in Joe Biden's victory as well as two Democratic Senate wins. The state's political transformation may not have been possible without recent demographic changes. Georgia ranks sixth in the nation for net migration, adding 284,541 people in 2019. As the state becomes more diverse and populous, its real estate market follows. This makes it a great time to become a real estate agent in Georgia.
By far, Atlanta and its suburbs lead the real estate boom. Atlanta is projected to outpace national home prices in 2021. In fact, over the past five years, home values in Georgia's largest city increased a whopping 49% — almost 16% in the last year alone.
Moreover, the local economy remains strong. Despite COVID-19, the 4.7% unemployment rate in Atlanta falls well under the national average of 6.9%in October 2020.
There are a few uncertainties. One is how much economic fallout from COVID-19 might affect home sales. News about the virus's lasting impact changes daily as new variants appear, and industry sectors continue to lag. Although the stock market remains strong, some cities across the United States are reaching a breaking point attempting to balance their budgets. If too many people start listing their homes in response to economic pressure, that could have an adverse effect on the current seller's market.
Another uncertainty is the fear that low inventory could push home sale prices too high, causing the market to cool down in the Atlanta metro area.
However, with interest rates at historic lows, demand remains strong, and affordable homes to choose from in some Atlanta suburbs, most experts predict that Georgia is a good bet for 2021. This means Peach State home sales prices should continue to outpace national sales prices throughout the year.
Fastest Growing Real Estate Markets in Georgia
1. Winder, Georgia
This suburb to the east of Atlanta has a median sales price of $239,000, a year-over-year increase of 19.6%. Homes remain on the market 12 days on average, and inventory is down, making this one of the more competitive markets in the Atlanta metro area. Less than 5% of homes currently sell at less than asking price; many get multiple offers.
2. Temple, Georgia
Located in the western part of the state, 37 miles from Atlanta, the small, mostly homogeneous city of Temple is experiencing a hot seller's market. Temple receives a Redfin Compete score of 80, meaning that it's a very competitive market. The median length of time a home remains on the market is just 19 days, while median home prices, currently $194,900, increased by 20% year-over-year.
3. Jonesboro, Georgia
Another commuter suburb of Atlanta, Jonesboro is located 15 miles from the city. It's a small city that residents describe as safe with beautiful scenery. The median sales price of homes is $175,000, an increase of 15.1% year-over-year. Homes are snatched up quickly here, remaining on average less than three weeks on the market. Inventory has declined almost 30% in the past year, making this a highly competitive real estate market.
4. Lawrenceville, Georgia
Lawrenceville is the county seat of Gwinnett County, Georgia. Located 27 miles from Atlanta, this small city receives an overall Niche score of A-, making it a desirable place to live. It scores particularly high for diversity and family life. The median sales price of a home here is $270,955, up 16.8% from the same time last year. Properties remain on the market just 16 days on average. Lawrenceville has a Redfin Compete Score of 82, meaning that it is highly competitive. In fact, almost half the homes are selling at above the seller's original listing price.
5. Kennesaw, Georgia
Niche describes Kennesaw, an Atlanta suburb with about 30,000 residents, as the best place to live in Cobb County, Georgia. It has great public schools, diversity, and nightlife. Like other cities in the greater Atlanta metro area, it has an extremely competitive real estate market. The median home sale price, currently $279,000, jumped 14.7% year-over-year. Homes remain just 12 days on the market, and 30% of them are selling for over the original listing price.
6. Savannah, Georgia
Savannah, a city on the coast with loads of history and Southern charm, is definitely a real estate market to watch. Northern liberals, encouraged by the state's political transformation, are now looking favorably at the Georgia coast as a potential retirement location. The city has a 4.8% unemployment rate; its metropolitan area has grown by 100,000 people over the past decade. The median home price in the city is $266,523, up 13.4% year-over-year.
7. Augusta, Georgia
Located on the banks of the Savannah River and the South Carolina border, Augusta is the second-largest city in Georgia, with a population of 200,000. The 4.0% unemployment rate is lower than Atlanta's, and the greater metro area's population is growing about 1% a year. Home prices increased just 8.9% here year-over-year, causing an uptick in buyer interest. The median home sale price is currently $153,000. Homes remain just two weeks on the market and sell about 0.9% under list price.
General Statewide Trends
Georgia homes remain affordable when compared to markets in cities like Denver, Boston, Silicon Valley, and Manhattan. The median listing price for the state is $344,000, while the average list price in the city of Atlanta comes in slightly higher, at $419,950. Bargains can be found in the greater Atlanta metro area; commuter suburbs tend to have the briskest seller's markets in 2021. Nevertheless, because inventory is low, many first-time buyers are having difficulty breaking into the Georgia real estate market.
Attractive Renter's Market
Because many first-time buyers are priced out of Atlanta's housing market, there are a thriving number of single-family build-to-rent communities in Atlanta. In fact, 50% of Atlantans are renters. With people continuing to flock to Atlanta and its suburbs, this presents an opportunity for investors seeking to expand their real estate portfolios.
Inventory recently dropped in the greater Atlanta metro area to just two months of supply — four months less than what is considered healthy. As long as the real estate market continues to be constrained by fears of COVID-19, potential sellers are keeping homes off the market, a trend that is predicted to continue throughout 2021. The lack of available homes for sale in the greater Atlanta metro area is the single greatest factor in increased home sales prices, causing suburban homes to receive multiple offers and sell for higher than the original listing price.
The seller's market in Georgia is likely to continue throughout 2021, driven by population growth, low inventory, and low mortgage interest rates. By far, the most competitive real estate markets in the state are in the greater Atlanta metro area. Because the city itself has become too expensive for many buyers, people who want access to the employment and cultural opportunities of Atlanta are driving up prices in the suburbs. Real estate investors, on the other hand, might look for opportunities to purchase build-to-rent homes within city limits as many young people are choosing to live in Atlanta as renters.