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Inside the ring of death

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I read the Steve Palm “Smart Numbers” report to FMLS members every month – it’s loaded with charts and graphs and commentary – WSB TV’s Richard Elliot featured Steve in a report earlier this month, wherein he labeled many of the exurban counties of metro Atlanta as a residential development “ring of death.”

“The area includes Paulding, Carroll, Douglas, South Fulton, Clayton, Henry, Newton, Barrow, parts of far east Gwinnett, Hall and the northernmost parts of Cherokee. He includes Fayette, Forsyth and Coweta in his ring of death, though he said the new housing markets in those counties are healthier than the others and will recover quicker once demand for new homes returns…”

Furthermore, “A lot of these areas, I’m telling people, will never come back," Palm told Elliot. "They’ll turn into ghost towns. Ghost developments."

So, most of my operation is INSIDE the “Ring of Death.” And INSIDE the ring of death are many relatively healthy submarkets.

As an example of Intown health, I live and work in Decatur, which (inside the city limits – not outside the city limits) has seen relatively stable, flat median prices for both single family attached and detached properties for 3 years in a row – here’s a quick look at single family detached property sales in the city of Decatur:

2009 – median single detached family price = $347,000 – average price out of 193 sales = $362,120

2010 – median single detached family price = $335,000 – average price out of 212 sales = $348,000

2011 (January 1 through current) – median single detached family price = $362,000 – average price out of 88 sales = $351,000

Coincidentally, I noticed that the average days on market for these SOLD Decatur properties for the past two years has been just 62 days…

Now, I can show you “ghost” or “Zombie” neighborhoods in parts of Intown – all kinds of “dis-investment” and speculation…but as Steve Palm says, some parts of these exurban counties are suffering at a high level. Worse than even parts of Lakewood and Vine City, in my opinion, because of the incongruence – the imbalance – it’s more pronounced in these “Ring of Death” counties.

All the more reason that relatively healthy demand is stabilizing prices in many of our Intown submarkets…

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