Home prices in some areas of the nation are falling. But while Bryan County has felt some of the impact, the overall consensus seems to be the county will not have to worry about the "housing bubble" affecting the local market.
Across America, economists have worried the country’s most recent historic housing boom may be coming to an end.
The general feeling (or hope) is that it will be a gradual decline that won’t significantly impact the economy’s expansion.
"If you look at Bryan County’s housing permits, the numbers are down from last year for the projected number this year," County Administrator Phil Jones said.
"I can tell you last year, countywide, we had some 698 permits for single-family and multi-family dwellings. The projection this year would be about 150 fewer homes, or about 25 percent less in permits. Again, that’s a projection," he said.
But he said last year’s large number was because multi-family homes made up an abnormally high 207 permits, and this year that number is down to about five."I think the true issue here is that single-family homes are going to be equivalent to last years, so there’s no effect," Jones said.
Theresa Palumbo, broker for Summit Homes and Land in Pembroke, feels that the bubble concept does not exist for Coastal Georgia. She said the local market is great right now, noting that Bryan County offers "a lot at a good price."
Still, Georgia is ranked one of the highest states for foreclosure, placing in the top 10 this year. In May, Georgia had almost 4,000 total foreclosures, according to BargainNetwork.com, a real estate tracking company. But tenth place is an improvement from last year, when the state was in the top three of most foreclosures.
In May, one in every 772 households nationwide entered some form of foreclosure, the web site said. The e-Finance Directory attributed this, in part, to falling home prices which have prevented some homeowners from refinancing.
But Palumbo remains optimistic and feels Bryan County, as it continues to grow, is a prominent location that can appeal to a wide market of buyers.
"It really is such a mix of buyers," said Lanae Wimberley, a mortgage lender for Bryan Bank and Trust. According to her, loan customers for Bryan County range from first-time homeowners to retirees.
Editor's note: See part two of this story on Wednesday.