According to Carey Cox, senior loan officer at the Marietta office of Mortgage South Lenders, “The overall purchase mortgage volume in 2012 was more than five times the volume of 2011’s fourth quarter. More than a third of this total volume was new construction, which was virtually nonexistent in 2011.”
Cox said he believes this trend is sustainable, as he has seen construction sales contracts continuing to come in the first few weeks of January, traditionally a slow month.
For the month of December, Cobb and its six cities saw a total of 65 new single family residential home permits pulled, a 75 percent increase from the 37 issued in December, 2011.
Of the permits issued for the month, 90 percent were in unincorporated Cobb with 59. Continuing the trend for the year, Smyrna led the cities with seven permits issued. The city of Kennesaw had three permits pulled, and Acworth had two issued. The city of Marietta had one permit issued.
The cities of Powder Springs and Acworth reported no new housing starts for the month. For the sixth consecutive month, the city of Austell also had zero permits issued.
“The existing home inventory is low, creating a great market for new homes,” Cox added. “In addition to that, much of the standing resale inventory is bank-owned property that is in need of immediate maintenance.”
Ginny Bishop, director of marketing for Cobb-based Acadia Homes, said that in the company’s new construction in Cobb, they have very few homes left.
“We have reached levels where we are almost out of inventory,” she said.
In 2012, Acadia opened two neighborhoods in Powder Springs, two in Smyrna and one in west Cobb. Bishop said the company is starting phase two of Sherwood Park — a mid-$200,000 neighborhood located on Sherwood Road near Concord Road in Smyrna — after selling 30 phase-one homes in 2012.
Cox said that the sale prices of new construction are also in line with the market, and even with extremely strict new appraisal guidelines, his company has not had an issue with appraisals on new homes.
“I see this as a continuing trend as new homes are a great value and have an advantage over resale homes as they are, more often than not, under warranty for a least one year,” he said. “The buyers do not face expensive maintenance items to budget for in their immediate future with new homes.”