Last Wednesday, the Henry Council for Quality Growth hosted a luncheon at the Eagle’s Landing Country Club to discuss housing growth and the economy in the county and metro Atlanta.
Eugene James, director of Washington-based Metrostudy, a company that specializes in housing and retail market information and data, spoke about housing trends across the county and other parts of Atlanta.
James introduced his findings by tying job growth to home growth.
He said,“Growing employment spills over into the housing market and our studies show that [metro Atlanta] is averaging 1,000 new jobs per month.”
James said as employment increases, so do numbers of homebuyerss.
“Realtors in Henry County are telling me that if they list a house, it sells quickly and that is because we have a little bit of undersupply of houses for sale right now,” he said.
When James’ data was collected in June, about 80 to 100 completely finished houses stood “move-in ready but unoccupied.”
“Ninety percent of the [house] inventory out there is gone and that is almost a historic low in houses built and ready to be bought,” he said.
Although trends show that residents are ready to move into ready-built homes, James said the county and metro Atlanta’s biggest problem is “buildable” lots that have remained untouched.
James said the “market is way over-supplied” with 128,000 of these lots spread out over metro Atlanta.
Ten thousand of those lots are in the county.
The company’s data showed that school attendance zones with better performance had more demand for developments.
“If you want to see your property values go up and see interest from builders, work on your schools,” James said.
Other data for the county presented by James included the following:
--As of the end of June, the county had 1,655 houses listed as foreclosures, most of which are owned by the federal government. Metro Atlanta still has about 35,000 homes that are owned by banks or the government due to foreclosures.
--Of the starts, or lots where construction is occurring, 44 percent are in McDonough, 27 percent are in Locust Grove and 26 percent in Hampton.
--Forty-six subdivisions in the county had new construction taking place in the past 12 months.
Mike Griffin, a member of the council and the county school board, said he found the company’s data an overall good sign for the county.
“More growth is healthy for our community,” he said, “and recovering home values and more starts are positive news.”
Griffin said enrollment for the county’s schools has been at a steady 40,000 students for four years and he is excited to see more people interested in buying homes in the area.
“More people means more tax dollars that are the base for healthy schools,” he said.