The last 5 years have been a little crazy for real estate all over the country. And Athens, GA serves a prime example of what was good and what was bad. I am sure you can remember what it was like 5 years ago. Our economy was in full recession which was created by the mortgage crisis, and the real estate industry was suffering. We experienced a record amount of foreclosures along with a sharp drop in real estate values across the country. I think it was late 2010 or early 2011 that we finally saw the bottom. After that the only direction to go was up and boy have things gone up. Here in Athens, we have seen many areas of the market make a full recovery. Granted, not every area of town is all the way back but the recovery is evident. So what areas have recovered the most? If you go by the numbers the strongest real estate values are in three primary areas: 5 Points, Normaltown, and Oconee County. Oconee is a large county and not every location is strong but in general the area is doing very well. I plan to discuss the values and current trends for each area or market in Athens over several blog posts. But since our office is located in 5 Points it makes sense to start there.
5 Points is the general area that runs from UGA’s south campus and ends around Baxter street and the Alps road area. It is an older area of town and is considered to be a very central location. Subsequently, it has always been a desirable part of town. You would have to go back a long ways to say otherwise. In 2010, 5 Points values were much lower than today. Nevertheless, when compared with other areas of town it was still one of the strongest. But lately there has been a huge comeback and increase in values. This is of course due to the location and traditional look of the area. During the recession, values were topping out around $150 PSF, but when the recovery began 5 points was positioned to boom. Have you ever heard to buy low and sell high? Well 5 Points real estate serves as a great example, and many home buyers were able to take advantage of a depressed market from 2009 to 2012. As of today, some values in 5 Points are over $200 PSF. For instance, if a house is fully renovated or up to date it may easily achieve a value of $200 PSF or greater. On the other hand, if a house is small or drastically out of date the value can be much less. With respect to residential lots, the dirt in 5 points is worth more than any other dirt in town. So what caused this value or boom?
Well there are many reasons. First of all, 5 Points is right next to UGA, and the university is a desirable area of town where many people work. Convenience could be considered another driving factor. Over the last several years, we have seen more and more people want to live closer in to town. Nowadays more people want to walk or bike to places and 5 Points can provide that option. In general, the overall driving force behind 5 Points is location which should be no surprise. But every area has at least one drawback. In 5 points, the drawback could be seen as the age or size of the homes. Many people love older homes and their charm so to speak. I am definitely one of those people. I enjoy the unique characteristics of older homes and neighborhoods. I enjoy the feel of a home that has been lived in or has a history. Unfortunately, many older homes do not have much space. Many of us have grown accustomed to large kitchens and open floor plans along with expansive closet space. But older homes were just not designed in this manner and this can obviously be a drawback to many buyers. Nevertheless, people are working hard to make houses up to date in 5 points.
You are probably aware that numerous renovations have taken place in 5 Points and more are underway. Depending on your taste, you may or may not like this new trend. In my opinion, some renovations look fantastic and others could have been done better. I don’t want to get into a discussion about which renovations are good and which are not. But the fact is that every home needs to be kept up or renovated from time to time. Overall, this is a good thing for the 5 Points area. It also proves the rule that people will sacrifice and work to be in a good location. In summation, the 5 Points area has proven to be a desirable area in good times and bad. It remains a great location to purchase a home or invest in real estate and should be for years to come.