Today we’re going to cover one of our pet subjects, the Downtown Augusta residential market, specifically Olde Town. Click here to download Olde Town Q4 2019 Market Report
What’s going on: Prices are rising–homes bought at retail (livable, decent condition) have risen from about $63/SF on average to just under $80/SF on average over four years–that’s about a 26% increase. As a whole, the average price has risen from about $30/SF to about $57/SF–almost double–over the past four years.
Part of what’s happening is that there are lots of abandoned and derelict homes that have been purchased, along with the rise of young professionals moving downtown. The average buyer in Olde Town today is a young, single, professional female. She is educated, trendy, and wants to be connected to the neighborhood and the downtown.
In 2010 when I bought my home in Olde Town, things were much different. The neighborhood was ‘busier’–more foot traffic, and there was a significantly higher percentage of section 8 housing in the neighborhood. Over the past ten years families have moved downtown–many connected to First Presbyterian Church and Christ Community Health Services (a non-profit heath center located in the middle of Olde Town). The rents started rising, investors started buying and renovating the homes, and soon things started changing.
In the past two years is when I’d say I’ve seen the most change. The main section 8 property in our neighborhood, Olde Town Apartments, had their tax credit expire and has been renting and selling their properties at market rate (primarily to young professionals). Many of the derelict properties on the southern edge of the neighborhood have been demolished, and plans are underway for new homes to be built.
My prediction is that the trends we see will continue, and that home values will continue to climb. I think that if the trend continues, in the next two years prices/SF for homes sold at retail will surpass $100/ft, at which time we will hit a tipping point which will open the neighborhood to new construction, and we will see many of the functionally obsolete homes demolished and new homes built. All this is great for our city, and for the greater urban community in Augusta, GA.
What are your thoughts? Where do you see the market downtown headed?