Caroline Ashe Your Source in Augusta, GA Real Estate May 7th, 2009
Are you looking to move to the Augusta, GA area? Curious about Augusta’s real estate market? Confused about the different counties, neighborhoods, etc.? Want info on the local schools? Love to shop and eat out but know nothing about the area’s restaurants and shopping? Well hopefully in this post I can give you some useful information and resources to answer some of your moving questions.
The ‘metro’ Augusta area is essentially made up of 3 counties: Richmond County, Columbia County, and Aiken County. Augusta is in Richmond county. Augusta is the home of the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta National (host of the Master’s Golf Tournament), the Green Jackets minor league baseball team (affiliated with the San Francisco Giants), Augusta State University, the Veterans Administration and University Hospitals, and Fort Gordon. Augusta is the last stop upstream on the Savannah River.
If you are interested in living in Augusta there are very few subdivisions, however there are some popular areas like Summerville, Lake Aumond, Forest Hills, Kingswood, and downtown (although if you are looking to buy this option is limited). If you are looking to be close to MCG and University Hospitals, Summerville tends to be a preferred area due to homes being within 5-10 minutes from either. The median home price sold in Augusta, Richmond County from 4/30/08 to 4/30/09 is $112,533 with a high of $799,000 and a low of $3,500 with an average of 102 days on the market.
Columbia County has three areas that are popular to live in: Martinez, Evans, and Grovetown. Grovetown is more of a town unto itself. Evans and Martinez are areas of Augusta and it is difficult to differentiate between when one ends and the next begins. Columbia County is home to large employers like Club Car, & John Deere, and upscale gated communities like West Lake or Jones Creek. Columbia County has lots of subdivisions. Popularity of subdivision depends on your price range and what kind of neighborhood amenities you are in search of. The median home price sold in Columbia County from 4/30/08 to 4/30/09 is $200,733 with a high of $1,700,000 and a low of $9,000 with an average of 118 days on the market.
Aiken County is on the South Carolina side. North Augusta is the town in closest relation to Augusta in Aiken County. It is essentially a suburb of Augusta separated by the Savannah River. This little sleeper offers the Greeneway (a walking path), Nike Peach Jam ( a highschool basketball invitational), easy access to I-20, and the feel of a small town. This small community offers the essentials for daily life – grocery stores, Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, and some fast food. For everything else most North Augustans go across the river into Augusta. Some of the more popular neighborhoods are Hammond Hills, Bergen Place, Lakes and Streams, and homes on the river. The median home price sold in North Augusta, Aiken County from 4/30/08 to 4/30/09 is $159,628 with a high of $1,175,000 and a low of $5,000 with an average of 123 days on the market.
Schools- one of the most popular questions asked to me is ‘What is the best school?’ Truthfully, I have no idea. I have one child who is 5 months old and school is not in my vocabulary yet – I am still working on a full night of sleep. From people that I have worked with in the past, Columbia County and South Carolina schools seem to be pretty popular. However, you don’t have to take my or any one else’s word for it anymore! Thanks to the world wide web, I can offer you a report card on the schools you are possibly interested in sending your kids to! Click on the respective States for more information! Georgia or South Carolina.
Shopping- aaahhh an American past time! Augusta offers tons of great specialty shops in the Surrey Center, Downtown, in strip malls etc. There is no shortage on great little stores – however that is a post for another time. If you are coming from out of town you are looking for some old favorites, stores that make you feel at home regardless of location. Well Augusta’s Magnolia Mall offers everything from Abercrombie & Fitch to Williams-Sonoma. Don’t worry there is a Dillard’s and a Macy’s too! For a complete list of your tried and true favorites at the mall, click here for the mall directory.
Eateries- my favorite subject. Being a rather large city, Augusta has a wide array of places to eat. A good number are chains you are familiar with- Outback, Bonefish, Applebee’s, Chop House, Miyabi’s, California Dreamin’, Monterrey’s, Hooters, Olive Garden, and so the list goes on. Augusta even touts some unusual restarants such as TakoSushi – a southwestern sushi bar. Yes- you heard correctly- they serve southwest/mexican favorites alongside sushi – killing two cravings with one restaurant! There are also tons of great little local places and hole in the wall restaurants to choose from as well. So have no fear, Augusta offers a selection of food for almost every taste palate! If you ever need a suggestion- just let me know- I am pretty sure I can direct you to some great local favorites to satisfy your need for some good groceries.
So, where does the Augusta Real Estate market area fit into all of this? The average median closing price for Richmond, Columbia, and Aiken County residential property for 4/30/08 to 4/30/09 is down 2.1% from 4/30/07 to 4/30/08. In the same time frame, ‘days on market’ has gone from 87 to 113 days. So what does this mean to you? Well, as a buyer it is great news! It appears to defy all logic because negatives are never better, but it is good in 2 regards. One, it is a great time to get a good deal on a home- it’s a buyers market. Sellers are having to sell their homes for a bit less on average than they did the previous year. The second good thing is – the market did not royally crash here. Yes, that means you will not get a house for $20 grand less; however it is a sign of a pretty stable market. So when you are no longer a buyer and are a seller, it means that even in a tough market your home’s value will not tank so far that it enters a place of no return!
As with anything – there are those who love the Augusta Area and those who hate it. I happen to be on the love it side. This area offers pretty much anything one could need or want. The bonus to it all is that you are not as bogged down with traffic and the hustle and bustle of the city. It has its moments during the Masters and with construction, but as a general rule Augusta still has a lot of Southern Charm. The people are friendly, the food is good, and for the Northerners trying to escape horrible winters- it almost never snows here. What more could you ask for?