Athens, GA Real Estate Review | 2023

One of our core values at 5Market Realty is to be a resource to our clients.  We are always working to keep people educated and informed about the local market.  With that in mind, December is a great time to provide a recap of the last year in our local real estate market.

It would be fair to say that 2023 was an interesting year in real estate. Over the course of the year, we experienced rapid interest rate increases, a historically low supply of homes on the market, and an overall reduction in the volume of sales throughout Athens-Clarke County. I began working in Athens real estate almost twenty years ago, and this past year was possibly the most erratic year in real estate that I have experienced – and that includes 2020.

There is no denying that inflation and interest rates have impacted the real estate market, but not all the impacts are negative.  Our office tracks four figures every month to follow the market for our clients and ourselves.  Each month, we examine the number of new listings, the average days on market, the average sold price, and the total number of homes sold.  These figures help us understand what is really happening in our market.  While the overall number of sales are down, there is still some good news in the market for home buyers and sellers.

Home Prices

We have found that people have very contrasting opinions on home prices in the current market. Many feel that prices are coming down due to the higher interest rates while others believe that prices are rising due to the low supply of homes for sale.  The truth is, prices are still going up but not as fast they were in 2020 and 2021.  For example, in 2020 the average home price in Clarke County was $258,000. By the end of 2022, the average home sale price was $356,000 representing a 38% increase in just two years.  As of November 30th, the average home sale price in 2023 was $377,000 which represents a 6% increase from 2022 which is more in line with historical rates of appreciation.

For now, it appears that home values are not in decline, but just appreciating at a slower rate than we experienced over the past few years.  Price is still very specific to the property because it depends on location and condition.  Granted, we have recently seen more price reductions in real estate, but in many cases these price reductions are a result of over pricing a home and the eventual sale price still demonstrates an increase in value when compared to previous years. The good news for sellers is that prices are still up and the good news for buyers is that the rapid appreciation has slowed down.  We expect this trend of slower appreciation to continue unless the supply of homes for sale were to drastically increase.

Market Conditions

As I mentioned before, 2023 was an erratic and inconsistent year in real estate. Many home sellers received multiple offers on their home while other properties sat on the market for longer periods than we have seen over the last few years.  In many cases, homes will sit on the market due to factors like the price, location, and condition.  However, there was a 20% increase in the days on market for all of Clarke County when compared 2022, and the number of homes for sale did increase towards the end of the year.

It should be noted that certain price points perform better than others.  While million-dollar home sales catch more attention, most of the homes sold in Clarke County are still below $500,000.  In 2021, 74% of all home sales were below $350,000, but as of November 30th, only 55% of sales were below $350,000 in 2023.  Our county has seen an increase in million-dollar homes over the last few years, but homes ranging from $350,000 to $500,000 represented about 30% of the market last year which is up from 15% in 2021. Keep in mind that Athens has many condominiums that sell each year which helps to bring down the average sold price.  With the exception of high demand areas such as downtown Athens, UGA campus area and the five points area, the condo market in Athens remained mostly consistent with similar increases in value.

What Lies Ahead in 2024

People will always try to speculate on what is going to happen, but the truth is that no one really knows.  What we do know is that many factors impact the market and most of them are out of our control.  As we have seen recently, economic factors like inflation and interest rates directly impact real estate across the country.  On the other hand, a real estate market remains very specific to an area, and our market in Athens is more isolated and unique because of the university.  In 2023, new listings were down around 15%, and the number of sales were down over 20% when compared to 2022. If the supply of homes remains low and interest rates are a little more stable in 2024, we will probably see more of the same in 2024.  Nevertheless, our advice to clients is not to make real estate decisions based on other people’s projections, but to make decisions based on their personal needs and the current market conditions. 

Please note that the numbers and figures discussed in this article are calculated specifically for Clarke County from the Athens Area Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service (Classic MLS).  They do not include properties listed For Sale by Owner or in another Multiple Listing Service.

If you are interested in following our local real estate market and staying up to date, you can follow our YouTube channel @athensgahomes by clicking below or email [email protected] to receive our video market updates. Lastly, if you have a business in the area and would be interested in having us feature you in upcoming issues, please reach out to us as well.