The Press Room
Bet on Growth - What's up in Georgia
Question: Gary, how long have you been in the real-estate business, and what kind of trends have you seen?
Brown: I’ve been in real estate for about 6 years now. I was in the housing market to begin with and selling some land. However, the county my office is in, Henry County, is the 5th fastest-growing county in the nation. As Atlanta, Georgia, continues to grow and expand, our county is having phenomenal growth, not only from people moving into our county, but also businesses and industries. We had a really strong housing market, which also meant we had a strong market for developers looking for land to buy and develop into housing. This direction was how our business was going for the last 24-36 months. However, because of the mortgage-industry problems, many of our land sales have slowed down, which makes now a prime time for investors to buy.
We know that Atlanta will continue to grow pretty much at the same rate it has been growing. People moving into this section of the state will always need houses, and plants and businesses keep on buying here too. So right now I see a tremendous buying opportunity for investors who know that the housing market slowdown won’t last very long.
Question: Gary, what makes Henry County, Ga., one of the top-five fastest-growing counties in the nation?
Brown: There are some lifestyle trends and transportation trends that are causing this growth. Our county is 20 minutes from the Atlanta airport, which makes it a short drive to anywhere in the world. We’re also only 25-30 minutes from Downtown Atlanta, which makes Henry County an easy commute for anyone who works in Atlanta. Interstate 75 runs through a big portion of our county, which has led to a lot of commercial development because goods and services can quickly move along I-75, not only to Atlanta and the Atlanta airport. They also can go by truck to anywhere in the nation. We’re seeing plenty of warehousing in our county by major companies like Toys R Us, Home Depot and Pep Boys. These and several other companies have major distribution hubs in Henry County. And those giant warehouses have to employ people to process orders and ship out products.
Another factor for Henry County’s growth is because we’re only 20 minutes from the Atlanta airport, which is a major hub for numbers of airlines. Many of the people who work for the airlines are moving into our county. As the city of Atlanta has continued to grow, the metropolitan area around Atlanta has expanded. All of this is fueling land prices in Henry County.
Question: What’s happening to property in your area around McDonough because of this land growth?
Brown: We’re seeing people right now in our area buying property farther south of Atlanta, because, as McDonough grows, and Henry County grows, we’re rapidly becoming an urban area instead of rural. Therefore, we’re seeing residents in McDonough who have homes in a sub-development beginning to buy properties further south of us for recreation. Too, there’s been a tremendous number of investors who want 5-50 acres to live on south of McDonough. We’re seeing people exiting the sub-development life they have here in McDonough and moving further south toward Macon where they can have more land that’s not as expensive. We’ve started moving with the people, and now our company is starting to sell a lot of forest-recreation land in central Georgia.
Question: How far are you seeing people move away from Downtown Atlanta?
Brown: Numbers of folks are commuting well over an hour to get to work in Atlanta. One of the reasons that people are willing to make longer commutes is that more and more companies in Atlanta are not requiring their employees to come into work every day. Many companies are now allowing their employees to telecommute over the internet 3 days a week and only come to the office 2 days a week. So this practice also has fueled investors being willing to live further out in the country since they only have to make that hour to hour and a half commute 1 or 2 days a week. This is a major change in the way companies do business, and it’s creating a major lifestyle change in our region. Now, individuals don’t have to live as close to their work as they once did.
Question: What affect has the high gas prices had on people’s willingness to commute?
Brown: Because of the high price of gas, there are also people who are moving out of the country and closer to Atlanta, trying to save on the cost of gasoline. So there’s quite a bit of transition all going on at the same time, with probably the most-affluent folks moving out of the city toward the country, and the people who are more concerned with gas prices moving from the country to the city. We are also seeing a middle movement, and by that I mean there seems to be a strong market for investors who want to buy an 8- or 10-acre lot instead of a 1/4-acre- to 1-acre lot. This market seems to be the strongest new trend. What we’re hearing from our investors is they want a small-town atmosphere close to the services, entertainment and jobs that are available in metropolitan places. In a nutshell, I think that’s what’s driving forest-recreation properties.
To contact Gary Brown and learn more about the properties he has available, you can e-mail him at email@example.com or contact him by phone at 678-414-9229, or mail him at 1325 Pennsylvania Avenue, McDonough, GA 30253.
Tomorrow: A Turnkey Piece of Property