I live on the Left Coast, where most people want to live by the ocean. In Atlanta, where my cousin lives, people dream of a “cabin” in the mountains. Which sounds quaint and rustic, but when Southerners say “cabin,” they’re speaking in code. Cabin refers to a two or three thousand square foot home, not a dinky little shack.
So what’s the big deal about the mountains in north Georgia? What’s the attraction? To find out, I talked to the experts on the subject of Blue Ridge Real Estate: CB High Country. According to them, for starters, there’s the Chattahoochee National Forest, which encompasses three quarters of a million acres. Along with breathtaking views, there are lots of other activities to entertain people: boating, rafting, and fishing. Located in Blue Ridge, designed specifically for hikers and bikers, there’s a 17-mile trail system called the Aska Adventure Trail Area. The Maine-to-Georgia Appalachian Trail also runs through, on nearby Springer Mountain.
The nice folks at CB High Country told me that the area’s allure keeps growing, so they don’t expect to see anything but escalating prices. Up until 2010, the market in the area was a little sluggish, but then began to improve. Since then, it has really begun to take off. A lot of new construction is underway.
Now that the housing market is improving on the Right Coast – and across most of the country – perspectives on home ownership have done an about-face. The magnetism of real estate is once again attracting people. They are willing to take money from other investments, such as 401ks that aren’t meeting their expectations, and putting those funds into real estate because they feel things are turning around in that market.
Adding fuel to the investment fire is the fact that the percentage of foreclosures is just over half of what it was last year, a significant decrease. That decrease, along with everything else, seems to imply that the market has reached its nadir, and is now rebounding.
The median sales price for a mountain property is about $159,000 right now. And the best deals to be found are in the $200,000 to $300,000 range, along with some “rare finds” that run near the million dollar mark. But according to the agents at CB High Country, those numbers could rise at any moment. The market is changing for the better, which means people’s expectations are keeping pace.
The most popular properties are those with expansive mountain views or that sit near water. Most investors believe the housing crunch is a thing of the past. Now is the time to move, before things really accelerate.