Every week, we ask an Atlanta real estate professional for their thoughts on the top trends in Atlanta real estate.
This week, we talked with Tony Guynn, the owner of Advance Brokers in Atlanta. A veteran of the real estate industry, Tony began his career in 1968 with General Development Corporation, where he was part of the team that created the predevelopment concept in retirement communities.
From there, he’s sold millions in mobile homes, acquired additional millions in predevelopment land and even formed Community Buildings Systems for affordable housing. A guest lecturer at numerous seminars, Tony is a member of the Urban Land Institute, the National Association of Mortgage Brokers, the National Mortgage Bankers Association, the Georgia Manufactured Housing Association and the National Association of Realtors.
Atlanta Agent (AA): Every month, we receive residential construction numbers from McGraw-Hill Construction, and every month, Atlanta is one of the busiest markets in the country. How do you explain such high numbers?
Tony Guynn (TG): There have been people sitting back and waiting for the depression in the real estate business to conclude, so there has been a pent-up demand that has exploded. You can see now, though, that it’s starting to cool off, but only by a little bit.
For instance, I just left Gwinnett County, where construction is still very strong, probably the strongest in metro Atlanta. Second would be Cobb County.
AA: A topic that we’ve been following very closely is housing inventory, which is still relatively low on a national basis; where do you see it trending in your pockets of Atlanta?
TG: There’s still some inventory out there, even in Gwinnett County. The price points now, though, are very, very sensitive, and even in the markets where properties are sold out, you have people standing in line for certain products. My ex-step son, for instance, is a high-end builder, and he’s done extremely well.
Meanwhile, in the price point from $150,000 to $250,000, they can’t build them fast enough. There are two reasons for that: there is some down-sizing, with people selling their existing, larger homes; and the job market, in areas like Bogart/Athens, has been booming.
AA: What trends are you looking for in your markets in 2014?
TG: Demand is going to be even stronger in 2014 than in 2013, because Atlanta keeps growing. In Forsyth County, for instance, activity in 2014 will be really strong. I also see Cobb County and Gwinnett County being strong, because they have a strong infrastructure.
I’ll also be following financing, because it will always be key for housing; after all, you’ve got to be able to start your car, and financing is the starter and the gas. Right now, because the interest rates are so low from what I’ve seen in the past – I was trying to sell homes when Jimmy Carter was president and rates were 16 percent – activity will be strong.
The strongest market, and the one where I’ve always found the most success, is the upper-blue-collar market, where they earn $60,000 a year, have a couple kids, and they want a good location with good schools. And schools will remain a very important thing for buyers.