From a developmental standpoint, the last few years have been very exciting for Statesboro and Bulloch County. From new subdivisions and shopping centers to major construction across the Georgia Southern University campus, we have clearly experienced a "boom."
A major concern among locals seems to be are we in for a "bust." Is Bulloch County going to see the same decline in home prices and stalled commercial and residential development that is plaguing other parts of the United States?
As of August 30th, there were 534 single family residential homes on the market in Bulloch County. I would agree, that does seem like a lot. However, in comparison to our northern neighbor, the greater Atlanta area which has over 143,000 homes on the market, it doesn't seem that bad. Still, it is concerning.
I asked local property appraiser Gary Brannen, owner of Brannen Appraisals, if local home prices and appraisal estimates were remaining steady.
"There has not been a decline in new construction prices," Brannen said. "Prices are holding at an average of $95 to $110 dollars per square foot. For the present, the market here appears to be stable."
Brannen attributes this market's steadiness to a more reasonable appreciation of home values than the appreciation experienced in other, more metropolitan markets.
"The value of homes skyrocketed in Atlanta, and the demand was unreasonable," he said. "There was plenty of room for downside in that market. Home values increased here as the costs of materials and labor for building the homes increased. There was not this relatively unbelievable, tremendous escalation in home costs."
"I believe that is why we haven't seen the prices of homes here go down like in other markets."
Brannen does believe that there will be some adjustment in this market.
"It's only my opinion, but residential construction here will and has slowed down somewhat, because there is so much inventory on the market. It is going to take a number of months for some of that inventory to be absorbed. I think it is very telling in a positive way that over the last year, we have had more real estate transactions in Bulloch than in the other surrounding counties including Bryan and Effingham."
At this time last year, 582 single family residential homes had been sold in 2006. For the same period this year, 528 single family residences have been sold. That is encouraging, particularly in light of prices remaining steady.
Just in case you are curious, here is a breakdown by price of the homes that have been sold in Bulloch County in 2007.
Price Homes Sold
$400,000 + 4
We are not out of the woods yet, but let's keep our fingers crossed and hope that Bulloch County remains relatively unscathed during this national real estate "correction". I want to thank Jack Conner, owner of Coldwell Banker - Tanner Realty, for providing the local residential sales statistics.
Until next week, I bid you au revoir.
Got a scoop for Jan? Call her at (912) 489-9463 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org