love this billboard off Ponce de Leon near the Ponce City Market. It encapsulates a phenomenon – a subset generation of homebuyers who are not choosing to live in the more traditional neighborhoods of Buckhead, Virginia Highland, or Decatur, but who are instead moving to the “edgier” parts of town which are now rising in popularity and in value.
For some young homebuyers, price drove them away from other intown neighborhoods. They could not afford Buckhead, and rather than move outside the Perimeter they chose to live in a less expensive neighborhood closer in. For still others, it is a conscious choice – in fact, some will pay Buckhead prices to live in these emerging urban neighborhoods like Edgewood, Kirkwood, Adair Park, and the like.
What do we mean by “urban”? In real estate parlance, it means “in the city” or the more densely populated areas close to traditionally commercial areas. It means an area where one can walk to retail and to public transportation. In the past, the term “urban” was often used derogatively to describe a crime infested inner city area. But these days, urban is in. The influx of buyers into closer-in Atlanta is increasing, and it is not just the Millennials who are making the move – many empty nesters and even the elderly are moving in town as well.
The trend is particularly evident in The Beltline neighborhoods. As you probably realize by now, The Beltline is a 22 mile walk/bike/transit loop around Atlanta that is one of the largest urban redevelopment projects in the United States and has garnered national and international attention. It will be years before all segments are completed, but much of it is finished now and if you live close to one of these segments you have the ability to walk out your door and into the future. Along the Beltline you can exercise, enjoy art, shop, walk to work – all without getting into a car.
But this does not mean that those neighborhoods not in the urban core are suffering. Buckhead, Virginia Highland, Decatur …. They all continue to increase in value and many of the urban buyers will buy in one of the more traditional neighborhoods in the future. Also, Atlanta is growing, so there are plenty of residents to go around. Some of the neighborhoods and cities not in the core and even those not inside the Perimeter are becoming more urban themselves by creating mixed use developments (live/work/play) that become an urban center of their own.
For instance, Perimeter Center in Dunwoody has grown up around the MARTA Station there. Once Dunwoody was almost entirely single family homes and shopping malls. Now it is cosmopolitan and hip. And Marietta’s square is an urban city center from another era that has new life now that we again appreciate walkability and greenspace.
The real estate world is changing, but in Metro Atlanta there is room for everyone – those who love living an inner city lifestyle and those that do not. We are so urban!