New Trend Puts In-town Atlanta in High Demand. Suburbs, Not So Much

It’s an exciting time for many urban areas across the country. People of all ages are giving up on those long suburban commutes and moving into the city. It’s a reversal of a trend that held steady for generations.

Until 2011, suburban areas generally grew faster than their city centers. Between 2000 and 2010, many big cities barely grew or even lost population as residents decamped for growing smaller cities and suburbs. Things have changed today.

According to the report by the Brookings Institute, the city of Atlanta experienced a growth rate of 2.8 percent from 2011 to 2012, while suburban metro Atlanta grew at 1.4 percent. This means Atlanta grew 1.3 percent faster than its suburban counties, making it among the fastest growing cities in the report.
Atlanta isn’t alone in this new trend. Along with Atlanta, Charlotte, Denver and Washington, D.C. experienced a similar influx. Across the country, there is a new demand for living in, or close to, the city.

This new demand doesn’t necessarily pit communities against each other. The strong population growth in the cities is actually benefiting some closer-in suburbs. Communities that are close to urban areas and linked to the city through public transit or efficient roadways are experiencing similar growth, while outlying areas are experiencing a drop in demand. This is clearly the reserve of what was happening during the 2000s. It seems that suburban sprawl has reached its limit.

While people want to live in the city, they also want to walk. A 2013 report from George Washington University found that walkable urban communities are experiencing strong growth in Atlanta, primarily driven by young professionals who want to drive less than their parents or just walk to work.

This trend is definitely a new one. In the past, real estate developers weren’t interested in building many dense, walkable developments that included residential and commercial units. Between 1991 and 2000 these dense projects were only 15 percent of all development. This trend largely continued between 2001 and 2008, when they consisted of about 25 percent.

These figures have nearly flipped today. The total number of walkable developments now consists of 60 percent of all projects in metro Atlanta, with about 70 percent of them in the city of Atlanta.

What does this all mean for you? Well, we are clearly experiencing a transformation in how and where we live. Rather than focusing on the size of the house, many are now looking more to where the property is located. People of all ages, especially younger generations, are tired of long traffic delays and are opting for shorter commutes, or even walking if possible.

Whether you are a looking to buy a home or hoping to sell soon, it’s important to remember that demand will play a critical part in the value of your investment in the future.  Homes in or near city are likely to be much more in demand, than those in the far-fetched regions of the suburbs. These gains aren’t guaranteed (no one has a crystal ball) but it’s something to consider when making such an important decision.

While Atlanta home prices have seen some big gains in the last 18 months, it is still a great time to buy a home. In fact, right now is one of the best opportunities to buy a home in decades. Don’t miss out on these new communities!

If you are interested in discussing these new real estate opportunities, please contact Emily Freeman of Keller Williams Realty Peachtree Rd.

Emily Freeman
Keller Williams Realty Peachtree Road
(cell) 770-366-8876
(office) 404-419-3500
(fax) 404-419-3501

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