By Mary Margaret Stewart, contributor
Atlanta’s BeltLine touches 45 neighborhoods, each area experiencing different levels of investment.
That makes housing trends along the Beltline difficult to track, according to local realtors.
Jon Effron, Associate Broker with Keller Williams in Atlanta, said that the majority of people know the Beltline as Inman to Piedmont Park, since it was paved in 2013, but emphasizes that “southwest Atlanta is not the Virginia Highlands.”
He’s noticed that “the majority of people gravitate towards the happy Old Fourth Ward-Inman Park area,” but said that locals aren’t familiar with the less popular areas, encouraging people to take the Beltline’s bus tour to learn more about Atlanta’s variety of houses.
Derrick Duckworth, real estate agent with “The Beltline Team” of Area West Realty, said it’s impossible to put the average home value of the Beltline into one number or trend.
According to Duckworth, within the past five years, “Old 4th Ward got an $180 million investment from Jamestown [Properties], plus Old 4th Ward Park, plus the two plus miles of trail, plus the skate park, and all of that investment made that neighborhood jump. During the same time, other areas may have seen minor increase in value.”
Effron agrees that Beltline housing trends are complicated to clump and classify. For starters, the title “Beltline property” encompasses a “very generous” scope of properties. At the same time, splitting up the real estate market, neighborhood by neighborhood, can prove to be overwhelming.
Since the Beltline is inclusive of almost 50 neighborhoods “that have always been valued differently,” Duckworth categorizes its areas into three sections.
Southwest Atlanta Beltline Neighborhoods – Adair Park, Capitol View, Capitol View Manor, Sylvan Hills, West End, Westview, Oakland City, Pittsburgh, and Perkerson Park – increased from an average home value of about $100-150,000 to $170-200,000 since last year.
Duckworth acknowledges that Northwest neighborhoods have seen less investment, estimating that the homes average about $40-50,000.
The third section, Eastside Beltline/Atlanta has experienced the highest impact, with home prices starting as low as $150,000 three years ago. Today, they’re starting over $300,000 and averaging closer to $600,000.
The Eastside Trail just began its 18-month extension. Since the beginning of June, clearing trees for sidewalk space stands as the main focus.
And Duckworth said that the project “already has” affected the real estate market.
“Wherever proof of trail can be seen, prices have increased,” he said.
Considering current trends in the housing market, Atlantans should expect to see Beltline property values increasing further in the near future.
“I hate to say it, but unless the city is smart enough to implement a housing strategy, Atlanta intown [prices] will probably triple inside of a decade,” Duckworth said. “Two years ago, I sold the highest price home in Adair Park at 640 Brookline St for $134,000. It stayed on the market for 60+ days. Today, folks are offering up to $300,000 for houses not even on the market.”
One of the main factors that is influencing the city’s home values is access to alternative methods of transportation.
While MARTA is nothing new, Duckworth pinpoints transit as “something Atlantans are finally embracing.”
“It’s funny to me that I think Park Atlanta – a major mistake – single handedly increased intown ridership of MARTA. It doesn’t take but one or two $35 parking tickets for folks to realize MARTA is ‘SMARTA’, and cheaper,” he said. “Add to that innovations like Uber/Lift, Uber Eats, Zipcar, and the like, all are influences people are considering.”
While there’s a steady increase in real estate values, Duckworth affirms that affordable housing exists along the Beltline, even though people’s definitions of “affordability” may vary.
Duckworth suggests that potential homebuyers look in affordable neighborhoods such as: Adair Park, Mozley Park, Washington Park, Skylofts in West End, Hill Street Lofts, Capitol View, Perkerson Park, Sylvan Hills, Pittsburgh, Chosewood Park, The Enclave at Grant Park and Oakland City.
Additionally, he recommends referring to resources such as Invest Atlanta DPA, Synovus Bank’s NO PMI loans, 203k renovation loans and www.committedtocommunities.com.
For more information about Atlanta’s strides towards making the Beltline accessible to all levels of income, visit the Beltline.org. This website provides information about programs in place to ensure real estate affordability.
According to the Beltline’s “Affordable Housing Progress” section of its website, The Atlanta Beltline Planning Area – the blueprint for “smart growth”– will deliver 5,600 out of 28,000 units of affordable workforce housing by 2030.
Atlanta Beltline, Inc. (ABI) and Invest Atlanta “supported the development of 985 units of affordable housing” during 2014, and as of this year, ABI and the Beltline Affordable Housing Trust Fund (BAHTF) have spent $12.5 million on affordable housing. In addition, ABI formed an alliance with the Federal Home Bank of Atlanta for downpayment assistance.
All efforts fit with their goal of a “Mixed Income Transit Oriented Development,” the Beltline’s current model to create an equal opportunity for potential homebuyers.