Peach State gets new Orchard, affordability takes center stage, and Fair Housing Act — there’s an app for that

by Timothy Inklebarger

iBuyer expands to Atlanta

New York City-based Orchard, which allows homeowners to “buy before they sell,” has expanded to Atlanta and Denver, according to a press release from the company.

Both markets have become known for moving quickly in recent years, and Orchard aims to speed things up for sellers by helping clients buy homes quickly with a competitive cash offer.

Once a homeowner has purchased a new home, Orchard will sell their old one or they’ll buy it from the client.

The company identified the top 10 hottest communities in the Atlanta area where buyers must act fast: Midtown, Old Fourth Ward, Little Five Points, Inman Park, Chamblee, Dunwoody, Roswell, Smyrna, Marietta and Alpharetta.

“As the demand for homes outpaces inventory, Orchard is helping buyers stand out by enabling them to make a cash offer on their new home before selling their current home,” said Court Cunningham, co-founder and CEO of Orchard. “We’re thrilled to bring Orchard to Atlanta and Denver as a new way to navigate the home buying landscape.”

 

Affordable in Atlanta

The City of Atlanta has released a new online tool that allows users to track the progress the city has made in its goal of creating or preserving 20,000 affordable homes in the city by 2026.

While the Atlanta Affordability Tracker is still in a beta stage, it allows users to see the number of affordable units preserved and created by the city starting in 2018; funds committed to the project (currently at $251.6 million); interactive maps of the locations of affordable units and multifamily projects in Atlanta based on ZIP code; and graphs that break down the metrics taken into consideration for building affordable housing.

“With this tool, residents, partners and stakeholders alike can track the City’s investment and production in achieving the administration’s affordable housing goals,” Atlanta Chief Housing Officer Terri Lee said in a press release.

The project is a collaboration between the City of Atlanta, Invest Atlanta, Atlanta Housing, Atlanta Beltline, Inc., and the Fulton County/City of Atlanta Land Bank Authority.

In addition to establishing 20,000 affordable units, the city aims to invest $500 million in affordable housing as part of Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ goal of ultimately contributing $1 billion toward the effort.

 

New app helps builders meet accessibility requirements of Fair Housing Act

The National Association of Home Builders has unveiled a free app designed to help builders, contractors and designers meet the accessibility requirements of the Fair Housing Act.

The Pocket Guide to the Fair Housing Act enables builders and developers to determine if the Fair Housing Act’s requirements apply to their projects and if so, provides a quick reference guide to the seven basic accessibility requirements for compliance with the law.

“HUD welcomes the efforts of this important housing industry partner in working to meet the needs of persons with disabilities,” said U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson. “This new app represents an exciting new tool in our collective effort to help ensure that home builders meet their Fair Housing Act obligations.”

While not a safe harbor for compliance with the Fair Housing Act, the app will provide a guide to understanding and confirming with the design and construction requirements of the Fair Housing Act, and hopefully will result in more housing options for persons with disabilities, said NAHB president Greg Ugalde.

“Through this free tool, NAHB strives to increase Fair Housing Act compliance within the housing industry and facilitate greater access to multifamily housing for persons with disabilities,” Ugalde said.

The app can be downloaded from the App Store and from Google Play by searching “FHA Guide” or “NAHB.”

Lydia Bhattacharya and Kerrie Kennedy contributed to this report.