Are you an Atlantan with a housing budget of about $200,000? If so, you’re not alone: Real estate information hub Trulia.com shows that the median sales price for Atlanta is hovering right around $200K.
With that budget in mind, we’ve taken a look at the housing landscape across our fair city to help you uncover your next home.
Market Overview: Atlanta
Atlanta’s real estate market is turning around. After years of floundering near its recession-era lows, the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Index shows a yearly increase in home prices of more than 16 percent. But the index also shows that our prices are still down 30 percent from their 2007 peak, so there’s time yet to find a good deal.
Worth noting: Neighborhoods such as Inman Park and Buckhead have seen double-digit price increases recently, while other areas are still seeing price declines. Try tools such as Zillow and Trulia.com’s Home Price Heat Map to help you track average prices by neighborhood.
Atlanta Condominiums and Townhomes
Atlanta-area real estate agent Kerry Townsend notes that the rebound in areas such as Midtown and Buckhead is partially due to a renaissance in the condo market. This sector experienced heavy construction during the mid-2000s boom, so many of the deals available are in contemporary units constructed from 2005 to 2007. These properties tend to be richer in amenities and features than similarly-priced single-family homes.
Townsend notes that, generally speaking, $200K affords high-quality 2 bedroom/2 bath units in desirable in-town locations, often near public transportation and with ample amenities. Granite countertops, gyms, and pools are typical of newer units, and even skyline views can be had in this price range. Expect to pay about $125 to $175 per square foot for units constructed within the past decade; units typically range from about 1,000 to 1,500 square feet.
For those seeking the utmost luxury, Realtor.com shows $200K buys high-end, 1 bedroom/1-2 bath condominiums in the 700 to 1,000-square-foot range, featuring concierge service, panoramic views, whirlpool tubs, and full community amenities. These units tend to be located in the most desirable buildings in Buckhead, Midtown, and the Virginia Highlands, and command between $175 and $250 per square foot.
Atlanta Single-Family Homes
When the emphasis is on space for growing families, most Atlantans look outside the Perimeter. Square footage for in-city single-family units in this price range is similar to condos or townhomes; for this reason, some of the best deals on a price-per-square-foot basis can be found outside the city’s core.
Townsend suggests that if you’re after space, you might consider many of the mid-2000s constructions in newer suburban developments. A search within our parameters on Realtor.com shows plentiful options in nearby towns such as Acworth and Logansville. Due to over-construction during the housing bubble, such suburban homes often sell in the $50 to $75 per square foot range, putting a $200K budget within reach of up to 4,000 square foot residences. Hardwood floors, soaking tubs and island kitchens are common perks in these newer homes. The drawbacks: While the leafy suburban location, multiple bedrooms and price point may be dreamy, expect longer commutes into town and limited access to public transportation.
If you’re willing to compromise a bit on square footage and amenities, property searches show homes in the 1,800 to 2,500 square foot range (often 3 bedrooms/3 baths) can be had within the city proper. Neighborhoods such as Grant Park and Inman Park offer close proximity to downtown attractions in a family-oriented environment. As these homes are often older than their suburban counterparts, amenities such as granite countertops are rarer; however, many are closer to MARTA stops for easy work commutes. Expect to pay about $100 to $150 per square foot.
General Home Ownership Tips for Atlantans
If $200,000 is above your budget (or if home ownership seems out of reach, altogether), check out Invest Atlanta. For qualifying prospective home owners, they offer a variety of programs to make home ownership more affordable – and help that budget stretch a bit further. The Georgia Dream Home Ownership Program also extends a variety of benefits to qualifying prospective home owners.
If you’re beginning your search for a home in Atlanta, do your homework and learn as much about the local market as you can. Work with a licensed real estate agent and do a full walk-through of any property you’re strongly considering. Once you understand what’s within your budget and suits your lifestyle, you’re on the way to finding your perfect home.