Let’s Do Business Gwinnett!!

One of the things which drew me to Gwinnett many years ago was the independent, “Do It Myself” way of life I observed.  We are a largely self-employed, hard working county with tremendous resources – our people being at the top of that list.  Our community shares a long, rich history of progress, we’ve done a lot of things right and a few things wrong.  We learn and come back better and stronger than before.  Today’s times are no different.  With that said, I’m excited but not surprised that the latest economic initiative comes from that very spirit which makes Gwinnett so great.  Let’s Do Business Gwinnett has been launched by the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce with support of Partnership Gwinnett to strengthen and restore our local economy by engaging our greatest resources – our local business and citizens. 

Let’s Do Business Gwinnett is an initiative to bring back 5% of current out of county spending by patronizing local business and service providers.  This challenge takes the “Do It Myself” mentality to “Do It Ourself” by recapturing Business to Business and Government to Business spend to provide fuel for a local economic stimulus.  Purchasing agents and decision makers are asked to look for and consider opportunities to use local resources when price, quality and availability requirements are met.  You would be surprised at what is available right here in our very own backyard!

According to the Let’s Do Business Gwinnett site, $20 million leaves our local economy each day.  Returning 5% of that would return approximately $1 million per day back to our local economy.  Keeping that money local will boost established business, provide ground for new business growth, job creation and enrich our tax base, providing needed funds for public services, streets and parks. 

Another part of this program is a $5,000 down payment incentive program created by a collaboration of Gwinnett County government, banks, mortgage companies and community foundations.  This provides up to $5,000 in down payment incentives and low interest mortgages for Gwinnett County residents to use in home purchases.  It’s our local version of the homebuyer tax credit.  Housing is a tremendous part of our local economy from property taxes, to the jobs it provides for our citizens.

To learn more visit http://www.letsdobusinessgwinnett.com.

To find a directory of currently pledged companies, visit http://www.letsdobusinessgwinnett.com/pledged_companies.html

To find more on the homebuyer incentives, visit http://www.letsdobusinessgwinnett.com/homebuyers.html.

Gwinnett Real Estate Contracts Continue to Increase

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In April 2010, real estate contracts reported for Gwinnett County rose to 1,171 from 895 in March, 2010, according to data from GAMLS and REDataCenter.  This is the highest number since June, 2006.  While most of these will reach success at the closing table, many will not.  Once a sale reaches the point of binding contract, lots of things must go right.  Issues with buyer financing, appraisal and inspection reports are just a few of the hurdles which can be encountered.  Even so, the number of contracts or pending sales is important to consider, as it gives an excellent representation of current demand.

While sales volume is increasing, sales price is still very low.  Average sales price in Gwinnett rose to $178,545, up from the March average of $164,736.  Actually, each month of 2010, Gwinnett’s average sales price has risen.  Proceed with caution if you’re currently on, or going on the market.  While we hope these patterns continue, the spring market in Metro Atlanta is typically where we see our peak, and only time will tell if we will see any impact from the tax credit expiration.  We’ll have to see what May numbers bring!

**Data represents single family, detached residential properties.

Elegantly Updated 2 Bedroom/2 Bath Bungalow in Clarkston, GA for Sale

Don’t miss your chance to make this lovely 1924 bungalow your new home!  Elegantly updated to maintain it’s original charm, this cozy home only needs you.  Newly refinished, original hardwood floors, updated kitchen with elegant stone accents, updated bathrooms and a huge, level private lot will make you feel right at home. 

The prime location of this home make it just the right spot for a short commute to work or play!

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Contact me to schedule an appointment to see this gorgeous home today!

Pending Home Sales in Gwinnett Make Huge Jump in March 2010!

Real estate is on the move in Gwinnett! According to latest data, Gwinnett’s pending sales rose to a nearly three year record level of 931, in March 2010.  Pending sales represent offers reached between buyer and seller, which are in the process of making the long journey to the closing table.  Will every one of these offers close?  No.  However, most of these will make it successfully through the closing process further shrinking existing inventory and making great places for people to live.

Let’s take a closer look.  The number of contracts written is important because it shows us a good example of current buyer demand.  Many events can curtail a successful closing, but that doesn’t take away from the point that buyers are ready to buy.  Some challenges to reaching the closing table are, appraisal issues, final loan underwriting or the inability for buyer and seller to reach agreement on repairs are just a few.  However, as long as the buyer remains qualified, he or she will move on to the next opportunity and begin again.  So, while closing data is still the final measure of success, contracts written helps us see which way we’re moving.  We must look back to the 975 contracts in June 2007 to find a month greater than the 931 contracts of March of 2010.

What’s a shot of good news without a dose of reality to follow?  While pending sales are on the rise, values continue to remain low.  Average sales price for Gwinnett in March 2010 came in at $166,491, which is considerably lower than the March 2007 figure of $229,676.  In 2008, Gwinnett’s average sales price started the first half of the year in the $200’s eventually falling to finish the year at $180k.  In 2009, average sales price dropped a bit lower, ultimately moving up and down in the $170k to $160k price range.  The less dramatic price swings in 2009, combined with the March 2010 average of $166,491 almost matching that of March 2009’s $166,876 give hope that we may have formed a bottom.  This is great news moving ahead, but don’t expect prices to climb back up as quickly as they fell.

So then, what’s moving you ask?  In Gwinnett the price point knocking it out of the park is from $100k to $200k.  Over the last six months 1,700 homes in the $100k to $200k price range sold in Gwinnett County.  The next highest performing price block was up to $100k with 962 sales over the past six months.  In third position was the $200k – $300k price block with 519 home sales.  Gwinnett home sales above $300k saw only 299 transactions over the last six months.  There are several reasons for increased movement in the lower price blocks.  One thing to consider is that many of the homes selling today were in higher price blocks a couple of years ago.  Additionally, we come back around to buyer behavior.  The slowdown in our economy has dramatically impacted what people are able and willing to spend.  Today’s ready, willing and able buyer is likely more frugal, does not want to become “house poor”, expects more for the money AND doesn’t have an existing home to sell.  First time home buyers are giving a tremendous boost to our market, and it’s not just because of the tax credit.  First time home buyers will continue to buy after the credit expires because they can!  Today’s first time home buyer is far savvier than in years past and they recognize great opportunities.   Remember, more first time home buyers in the market will eventually give the person looking to sell and move up a market for his/her home, enabling that move up purchase to happen.  For this reason, I expect the below $300k price points to continue to lead the way back to a more pleasant market.  Now…I’d better remember what I did with my patience!!!

** This article was written based on charts from REDataCenter using data from GAMLS.

National Open House Weekend – April 10 & 11, 2010

I am very excited to be participating in “National Open House Day” April 10 & 11, 2010!  Sponsored by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and Georgia Association of Realtors (GAR), National Open House Day is expected to be a great opportunity to see what’s available in your market. 

This weekend, I will be featuring a beautiful 4 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom home at 1080 Sutherland Drive, in the Sutherland subdivision, in Winder, GA.  This home is nearly new and ready for its new owner.  You will get the benefit of new construction without the hassle of buying from the bank, or having to install all of the “little things” usually needed when moving into a new house.  This home is well positioned on a large, level lot.  Its popular “Mariah” floor plan is a real benefit.

Sutherland is a fabulous new community, conveniently located off of Corinth Church Road and Hwy 11, in Winder.  There is a community pool with clubhouse, neighborhood fishing pond and plenty of green space set aside for residents to enjoy.  Sutherland is located in the Apalachee High School cluster, convenient to Hwy. 316, moments away from Eagle Greens at The Chimneys Golf course and an easy commute to Gwinnett County or Athens, GA.

Come out April 10th & 11th to see what Sutherland has to offer, or just follow the   REALTOR balloons in your area to see what great opportunities await you!