As high home prices and a shortage of developable lots continue to push residential development further from Atlanta’s center, one exurban jurisdiction has attracted the most homebuilding activity: Gwinnett County.
Gwinnett far outpaced its neighbors in terms of housing starts, closings and lot deliveries in the first quarter, according to a new report from asset manager and developer St. Bourke, which also found the bulk of recent homebuilding has occurred in areas that were once considered too far from the city center to be viable for large-scale residential development. Nine of the region’s top 10 performing communities were at least 30 miles from downtown, and eight of these were in the area’s northeast quadrant, which includes Gwinnett.
During the first quarter, Gwinnett County recorded 4,031 starts on an annualized basis, compared to the next most-active county, Cherokee, with 2,240. Gwinnett saw 4,047 annualized closings, compared to Cherokee’s 2,064, and had 4,472 lots delivered during the quarter, followed by South Fulton, with 1,688 lots.
Atlanta’s total metro area saw 29,111 housing starts on an annualized basis in the first quarter and 28,214 closings. There were 21,523 lots delivered during the quarter, St. Bourke said, citing data from Zonda/Metrostudy.
By builder, D.R. Horton led the way in the Atlanta metro, with 725 new-home closings in the first quarter, followed by Lennar Homes with 402 homes closed and Rocklyn Homes with 206 closed. The quarterly growth pace of closings varied widely between builders, with Rocklyn posting the largest decrease in home production, at 22%, while McKinley Homes recorded a sizable 403.1% increase.
Finally, by community, Walnut Grove in Jackson County was the most active in the first quarter, with 224 annualized housing starts, followed by the Townes of Auburn, a townhouse community in Barrow County, with 222 starts and Twin Lakes in Jackson County, with 206 starts.