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October/November/December 2010

As Good As It Gets
Atlanta's A Hot Market for Homebuyers
by Melanie F. Gibbs

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You’ve picked a great time to relocate to Metro Atlanta and buy a home, because, right now, Atlanta is a hot market for home buyers. With builder incentives and great prices, interest rates at historic lows and a healthy supply of homes, the home buying market in Atlanta is as good as it gets.

    Add to that the fact that buyers get more house for their money in Atlanta compared to other metro areas; it is indeed an opportune time to move to the ATL and purchase a home. Atlanta has long offered a wide range of housing types, but now is the time to snag a great deal on the Atlanta home that fits your lifestyle.

    “It’s a wonderful time to buy in the Atlanta area for several reasons,” says Les Stumpff, president of the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association, “including very low mortgage interest rates, a wide selection of housing types in all price ranges, and builders and other sellers are offering valuable incentives.”

    “From a buyer’s perspective, it’s just great,” agrees Steve Palm, president of SmartNumbers, which provides analysis and forecasting for the real estate industry. Palm points out that home foreclosures continue in the Atlanta area. Interest rates are at an all-time low. Builders are getting great deals on land and new construction is coming back. Combine this with weak demand, and buyers can expect abundant incentives. “If you’ve got money and a job, it’s a great time to buy,” says Palm. “If you’re looking for an executive home, there is so little demand for high-end, you can get a really good buy.”

    “With historically low interest rates and homes selling at the lowest price point in over 10 years, there has never been a better time for any buyer to purchase a home,” affirms Jim Alexander, Senior Vice President, Harry Normal Realtors Historic Cobb/Marietta office. “We have historically low starts on new homes in Atlanta and there is little to choose from.  We’ve had little or no new starts in the past four to five years and so new homes are hard to find. Some of the bigger builders are coming back into the Atlanta market and I see more coming in 2011, due to the lack of product and banks being willing to discount the lots they have to get them off their books. So, new homes are still a great deal, but with the scarcity of new homes, that won’t last long.”

    Another indication of the great potential for buyers in Atlanta’s new home market is the interest shown by a host of companies considering relocations to the Atlanta area.

    “There are lots of companies looking at Atlanta and Georgia, in general, as a new home for their companies or as a place to relocate key employees. In the last year I have seen a significant increase in inquiries about Atlanta’s cost of living, as well as access to local transit and domestic and international flights to and from Atlanta. Companies thinking about relocating here are also asking about our schools and new housing options,” says Kathy Connelly, Senior Vice President of Corporate Services, Georgia Prudential Realty. "

    “In difficult financial times,” Connelly adds “companies often look at moving operations in order to operate more efficiently and want to be in a city that will continue to attract workers at all levels. Atlanta is a great place to be right now and opportunities for home buyers are part of the attraction.”

    So, where can new home buyers find great deals? They won’t have to look very far. And these deals are not just for typical cookie-cutter homes; incredible deals also are offered on homes with unique floor plans and architectural designs, as well as amazing amenities. good 3

   For example, early this year, Brock Built offered to cover all closing costs for its inventory of homes at a number of area communities, including DuPont Commons, a master-planned community five miles from Atlantic Station and Downtown. The community offers Craftsman single-family homes and townhomes from the high $200s, with an award-winning clubhouse and fitness facility, Olympic-sized swimming pool, parks with picnic areas, playgrounds and sidewalks. Depending on model, homes may feature patios, hardwood floors, double vanity, ceramic tile and trey ceilings.

    Another intown Brock Built community, The Commons, offers brownstone architecture minutes from the Georgia Dome, the heart of Downtown Atlanta and within walking distance to the Atlanta University Center. The three-story, three-bedroom townhomes priced from the high $100s feature hardwoods, private decks, granite countertops in kitchen, garden tubs and separate showers.

    A Ryland Homes Sales Event promised either 50% off Design Center options up to $25,000, up to $7,500 toward closing costs, price protection or “low monthly payments.” Ryland offers a variety of communities in the Metro area, including single-family homes at James Creek in Cumming from the $260s, Canterbury in Marietta from the mid-$300s and Centennial Lakes in Acworth from the $220s. Amenities at these communities include nature trails, pools, tennis courts and more.

    Other builders may not overtly advertise deals, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t available. Beazer Homes, which promotes eSMART energy efficient homes, simply suggests buyers call to learn more about incentives. Its communities include The Gates at Johns Creek, a gated community of four- and five-bedroom homes located in the suburb of Johns Creek. Prices begin in the upper $200s, and homes include at least 15 eSMART features that save energy, conserve water and improve indoor air quality. Amenities include a pool with a cabana and tennis courts.good 2

    Similarly, Beazer’s Cobblestone Community in Mableton offers a semi-rural setting just minutes from the city. Townhomes feature custom cabinets and gourmet kitchens. Townhome prices begin at $160,990.

    Single family homes in the Cobblestone Creek community feature open floor plans and the same eSMART technologies as other Beazer communities, including designs that allow an abundance of natural light and dramatic views of Atlanta’s skyline. Prices for these four-bedroom homes begin at $192,990.

    Note that most of the offers described above are limited-time and are representative of the kinds of deals available. Be sure to check with builders for current deals and offers. However, these prices won’t last forever.
    Of course, financial deals aren’t the only incentives for buying in the Atlanta area.    One of the most attractive reasons to live in Atlanta is its temperate climate, which allows outdoor activities nearly year-round. “Buyers have plenty to choose from in terms of deciding to live in an urban or suburban area,” Stumpff adds. “Buyers can find activities such as golf, tennis, swimming and equestrian at Atlanta’s homes and neighborhoods, and they’ll also come across plenty of homes that emphasize the outdoors through incredible decks, patios, sunrooms and other living spaces. During spring and summer, when flowers and trees are in bloom, you’ll see some of the most colorful and best kept lawns in the country.”


For More Information

Atlanta Board of Realtors

Beazer Homes

Brock Built

Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association

Ryland Homes


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