Housing starts on the rise in metro Atlanta

by: Jim Strickland Updated:

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DeKalb County research firm Metrostudy reported housing starts in the Atlanta market were up 67 percent last year compared to 2012.
         
Another 25 percent jump is expected this year, according to the firm's housing economist Eugene James.
         
"We fell so far to the bottom, it's time for Atlanta to start catching up. So we're going to continue to see fairly large numbers," James told Channel 2's Jim Strickland.
        
James said housing starts are still not keeping pace with demand.
         
"There's nothing you can buy. There's a wait list for lots. It's amazing how hot the market's become," said buyer Reggie Strange.  
 
Strange was putting an offer on an unbuilt lot in the Waterbrooke development in Forsyth County.
         
With 491 housing starts in the last quarter of 2013, Forsyth was the number one building county.  JEH Homes snapped up 200 lots at Waterbrooke after the first builder bellied up.
         
"A community like this was lucky to close 12 homes a year and right now we have 27 homes under construction and with 5 closing just in this month," said sales manager Jaime Chastain.  
         
"The 27 homes under construction, are they all sold?" asked Strickland.  "They are," she replied.
         
James said rising home values mean fewer underwater mortgages and better stability, even for those not in the market.    
           
The boom is widespread.  Henry, Douglas, Coweta and Clayton counties all saw housing starts at least double in the 4th quarter of 2013 from 2012.
         
The biggest gaining county was Paulding, from 22 starts in Q4 2012 to 118 in Q4 2013.  That's a 436 percent increase according to the Metrostudy report.