Homes still sell at $250,000 or less in Hall County, but they are quickly disappearing from the market.
From March 16 to 31, area Realtors sold and/or closed 159 single-family homes with an average sales price of $389,700 and a median sales price of $332,050, according to data from the Abernathy Cochran Real Estate Group, a Gainesville real estate firm that regularly tracks area housing market trends:
Also, currently, only 21 single-family detached homes $250,000 and under are on the market, or less than 10% of the total 220, said Brad Abernathy, the firm’s principal partner, citing First Multiple Listing Service data.
Area real estate agents are seeing a continuing trend of prices climbing higher — good news for the seller looking to make a profit and bad news for the consumer who doesn’t want to end up mortgage poor.
“I’m working with a couple right now that just had a baby and we’re working in the $180,000 to $200,000 range, and it’s almost impossible to find something,” said Dianne Hicks of eXp Realty.
And Kerstin Crawford, managing broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices-Georgia, recalled one day in March when there were just 16 houses on the Hall market between $200,000 and $250,000.
“You could double the number of people buying versus what’s out there available,” she said.
Among the houses listed now, the average listing price is a stunning $686,772, and that’s after removing outlier prices as high as $15.5 million and as low as $22,000.
The sale of luxury homes “is more than we’ve ever seen,” Abernathy said.
“We live in a wonderful area, and people have noticed that the last several years,” he said. “I can give the chamber (of commerce) speech here, but we’re selling houses to more people from out of state than we’ve ever sold. People are coming here from all over the country.”
Bottom line is Hall has a huge housing demand and sellers can dictate home prices — not buyers, including those seeking a starter home.
“I tell people all the time that they need to be careful right now how they price their house,” Abernathy said. “They may price at what they think is high, and it’s actually not high enough.”
His firm, which is part of The Norton Agency, has broken out data by sections of Hall. In an area between West Hall High School and Cherokee Bluff High School, for example, just two of 65 properties $250,000 or lower were sold and/or closed March 16-31. A large number of the homes sold in the $300,000-$400,000 range, with many of those selling over their listing price.
Hicks said it’s not just first-time home buyers looking for lower prices.
People who have owned a home for a long time and are looking to downsize also are being affected. They may be able to sell their home at a huge profit, but they suffer sticker shock when looking at current prices.
So, a seller may get above asking price for a house, but they need to be prepared for their next residence — and quickly, as homes aren’t lingering on the market.
“It could be sold in a week and they don’t have anywhere to go,” Abernathy said. “Sellers need to find someone who can advise them the right way. They don’t necessarily need to get out of the house right away. They need to make sure their agent is helping them set the terms — whether they can rent the house back for a month while they’re transitioning to the next house or whatever.”
Market uncertainty may be one reason why apartment construction is on the rise, Hicks said..
“But rent has gone up as well and it can be just as hard to find,” she said. “If you don’t have good credit, it’s hard to even find a rental.”