New Urbanism Is Paying Off For Many Local Home Owners
By Kirsten Ricci
Roswell has always been a little different. It has a long history of deep-seated neighborhoods coupled with numerous typical suburban neighborhoods. However, the charm of small town life is never far away. Keeping the correct balance of growth versus change is difficult. Like they say—beauty is in the eye of the beholder—and what constitutes good development is often highly opinionated with no real clear-cut answer. These issues are often divisive so lets remember that in the end a community divided is not the end result we’re looking for. Change is always hard and right now Roswell is struggling with its identity and what it wants to be.
New Urbanism is a term often used to describe new projects that have been or will be developed in and around the historic district since the economic recovery began. In the 1960s, the area around the historic district was hot property in what was then the far north suburbs of Atlanta. Just a few years ago these properties had been stuck in the low $200s for more than 20 years. Folks who’ve lived there for decades own many of these homes, so this upward trend is a win-win, as they finally see a significant increase in their investment. Younger buyers are looking at this area and the term rejuvenation comes to mind—they can refinish an older home to their liking.
The Coleman Road area is an example of this growth and how development in the historic district is paying off. In 2010 I sold a home off Coleman for $232k—now homes in that very neighborhood are going in the $400s. I can also tell you that prices in and around the historic area are seeing the same type of significant increases. This is due to many factors: new schools; infrastructure improvements; entertainment options; and, in many cases, walkability. The boom in prices is not limited to Roswell either. Alpharetta’s downtown area is having a similar change. However, these pricing trends do not extend to all price points. Home sales have slowed in properties priced above $500k—with days on the market increasing in the higher figures. Additionally, the new construction is flat, with price reductions becoming a trend. But if you’re under $400k then there may be a bidding war. The common theme is the closer to the historic district you are the “hotter” your property is.
To me this is the market telling us what is important to people. The old way of looking a suburban development is changing and it’s being driven by economics. Those indicators are that people want connectivity, smart sensible development, and yes, a connection to historical elements. Roswell has been in a transformation mode for sometime but now there are a lot of “next steps” being discussed (see page 12). It’s important that as we change we do not lose a connection to the past and remember that building communities is far more important than the actual buildings.
Kirsten Ricci is a Roswell resident and a Keller Williams Agent who specializes in residential real estate in the north metro Atlanta area. She can be reached at 678-472-3832, firstname.lastname@example.org. Her site is www.klrgrouprealestate.com.