If there’s ever been an appropriate time to refer to Atlanta as “Hotlanta,” it’s now.
The city is a new entrant this year into the Urban Land Institute’s top 10 real estate prospect markets. According to the organization’s 2016 “Emerging Trends in Real Estate” report, it’s the No. 5 market to watch.
Experts say now is a good time to invest in Atlanta real estate partly because of the growth the area is experiencing.
Employment, for example, is booming. The Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell area is seeing the second-fastest rate of job growth in the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs grew 2.9% from September 2015 to September 2016.
There’s also a flurry of new activity in sports, entertainment and the arts. Some of the major projects sizzling in the market include:
- Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The new home of the Atlanta Falcons is scheduled to open for the 2017 NFL season. The arena will feature reasonably priced culinary options from local restaurants, which is receiving a lot of buzz.
- SunTrust Park. The Atlanta Braves are moving on up, too. SunTrust Park will be open for the MLB 2017 pre-season. A mixed-use development is also being built around the park to serve as a year-round entertainment district.
- Woodruff Arts Center. Atlanta’s largest arts organization is planning massive transformations over the next two years. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the organization recently raised $110 million to add 11 new positions to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; renovate the Alliance Theatre; and provide greater access to free programming at all of its facilities.
Solid job opportunities and thriving arts and entertainment industries are particularly attractive to millennials, the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. The ULI is forecasting a 10.5% increase in millennial (16- to 35-year-old) residents in the Atlanta area over the next five years.
Low inventory; rising prices
Despite the growth in the market, new home construction in Atlanta remains limited.
First Multiple Listing Service (FMLS) data pulled by the Atlanta REALTORS (ARA) found 15,839 active home listings in October, a 1.8% decrease from last year. Meantime, home prices are rising: The average sales price in October stood at $286,000, a 6.5% jump over 2015.
Although this dynamic gives sellers the upper hand, experts are still encouraging buyers to get in while they can.
In a press release, ARA President Lane McCormack recommended buying before interest rates go up. “Today’s buyer is wise to invest in homeownership as we are beginning to see a rise in home loan interest rates,” she said.
An expert interviewed by the Urban Land Institute for their study echoed those thoughts: “If you get into this market now, you will be ahead of the curve when new development gets fully underway.”