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Does new residential development signal recovery or concern?


February 18, 2013
There have been several clear signs of recovery in North Atlanta's housing market for some time now. Home inventories have been shrinking steadily and foreclosures are dwindling, but one of the biggest signs of improvement in the market has been new homes. Stalled communities are booming and except for a few locations like the Manor Golf and Country Club or Echelon, nearly all the developed lots have been snatched up by builders.

It's becoming more common to see big trucks and construction vehicles on the roads. This means jobs, durable goods sales like appliances, carpet and furniture. More people moving to the area mean more patrons in our restaurants and stores.

So how could this be of concern?

It's not so much the finishing-out of existing communities, but what is happening now is large development projects for new communities in North Fulton and South Forsyth.

Here are just a few examples:

• Ryland Homes has 96 acres under contract next to the Manor Golf and Country Club.

• Ashton Woods has purchased the land between Waterside and Crabapple Crossroads.

• Ashton is also trying to rezone a parcel of land off Ga.141 near the Deerlake community.

• Acadia purchased 15 acres near the intersection of Providence Road and Birmingham Highway.

• Lennar purchased land off Majors Road behind Creekstone Estates to develop about 230 lots.

• KM homes and Warren Jolly purchased 21 acres on the corner of Mayfield and Bethany roads for a 45-lot community.

• Pulte Homes is in the process of rezoning a horse farm on Rucker Road for a new community.

Developers and builders are keenly aware of the low inventory and have, understandably, moved in to fill that need. It takes many months to go through rezoning, site development and planning before you can get those homes up and out of the ground.

The question is, in the next 12 to 18 months when we have double or triple the new construction inventory on the market, will we have enough buyers to support the increased inventory?

Is the economy improving at a fast enough rate to support this?

No worries

I think what we have and the things we are doing in North Fulton and Forsyth allow us to drive our recovery somewhat independently of the rest of the economy.

We have the coming of Avalon and the City Center in Alpharetta.

The Avenue in South Forsyth has been sold to a joint venture between Core Property Capitol and Starwood Properties with further development coming.

Add to that the incredibly vibrant Canton Street in Historic Roswell and quality schools and there is no question that we'll have the buyer traffic to support the development.

So what's to worry about — besides traffic?

Bob Strader is a local realtor with The NORTH Group of Keller Williams Realty. More information can be found on his blogs liveincumming.com or liveinalpharetta.com or email him: info@thenorthgroup.com.

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