The month saw 3,940 closed transactions, up 21.6 percent from 3,241 in November, according to a report from RE/MAX. December sales were also 22 percent higher than in the same month of 2014, RE/MAX said.
The median sale price rose to $210,000, up 1 percent from November and 5 percent above the median price of $199,250 in December 2014. The report includes all sales, not just those brokered by the firm.
Some buyers who had been sitting on fence got off it when the Federal Reserve raised its basic interest rate and promised more hikes this year, said Jeanette Schneider, senior vice president for RE/MAX of Georgia. The Fed rate doesn’t dictate mortgage rates but usually sets the trend for their direction.
“We know that had an impact,” Schneider said.
Other sales were deals that had been delayed as buyers and sellers got used to new regulations. And December was warmer than usual.
“That kept people looking,” Schneider said.
Compared to many strong markets nationally, metro Atlanta remains affordable, Schneider said.
“Atlanta is a market to watch in the coming year.”
But a historically low inventory of homes for sale has helped boost prices, and unless inventory rises the continued price gains could threaten affordability.
Listings of homes for sale in December amounted to 4.4 months of sales, according to RE/MAX, barely moved from 4.3 months in November. However, supply was down from a year earlier, when it represented 5.6 months of sales.
“I still think 2016 is going to be a year of tight inventory,” Schneider said.