Friday’s Freshest: Atlanta, like most metro areas, has seen its home prices fall since peaking in the summer of 2022. This recent decline obscures the long-term trend: Atlanta’s home prices have risen 178% over the past decade, with lower priced homes rising by 230%. The national changes were 127% and 141%, respectively. Atlanta’s home-price growth far outstrips wage growth and reflects a failure to address the growing housing shortage – 100,000 units in 2019, according to Up for Growth. The price decline now underway is expected to be modest, still leaving many entry-level and blue collar workers priced out of the market.
A market-based solution that can restore affordability in a steady but meaningful way is needed. Ed Pinto and Arthur Gailes, both with AEI’s Housing Center, look at this dynamic and how “Light Touch Density” can resolve the supply and affordability conundrum in Atlanta.
Quotes of Note
“Desire makes slaves out of kings, and patience makes kings out of slaves.” –Al-Ghazali
“Nothing is more fairly distributed than common sense: no one thinks he needs more of it than he already has.” –Rene Descartes
“Remember that rights are moral principles which define and protect a man’s freedom of action, but impose no obligations on other men.” – Ayn Rand
On Our Desks
Election trends: Last week’s runoff election for the U.S. Senate has been examined six ways to Sunday. There has been plenty of analysis about what Herschel Walker’s loss means for him, for Donald Trump, for the Republican Party at large – and, conversely, about the meaning for newly re-elected Raphael Warnock, President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party more broadly. Just as intriguing is the unraveling of a statewide pattern that had stood largely unchallenged for decades: the decoupling of state and federal election results in Georgia. Kyle Wingfield looks at the 2022 elections and what this emerging trend means for future elections.
Government Owned Networks: The feds have dispersed almost $400 billion to several states, including Georgia, to connect rural areas to high-speed internet. Access to the internet is a good thing, but should the government compete against the private sector in areas that already have it?
Expanding healthcare access. Lowering costs for consumers. J.Thomas Perdue looks at several key healthcare policy issues lawmakers could address next session to increase healthcare access and lower costs for consumers. The Foundation released a study in September outlining the benefits of full practice authority, one of the key issues. Read the Foundation’s full study here.
Economic freedom: Georgia is one of the freest places to live in North America, according to a report from the Fraser Institute. But what does freest mean, exactly? And why should we care?
Save the date: The setting for the Foundation’s annual Georgia Freedom Dinner has been announced and registration is now open. The dinner will take place on Wednesday, January 25, 2023, at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Table sponsorships are available. Please contact us here for more information.
Bryan County: Governor Brian Kemp announced that KISS USA, a global beauty company, will create more than 395 new jobs and invest $121 million in a facility in Bryan County. KISS was founded in 1989 in New York and has grown into one of the largest cosmetic companies in the country. As the Foundation reported in October, Bryan County commissioners, anticipating increasing population numbers, imposed new design standards on new homes that homebuilders say will increase the price of a house by as much as $30,000 to $50,000.
Recession: Georgia’s economy will enter a mild, short recession early next year that should only persist for about six months, the dean of the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business said. The downturn will be prompted by the series of interest rate hikes the Federal Reserve board has ordered this year to curb inflation, rising energy prices and hits to personal wealth including a down stock market. But Georgia, he said, is better positioned than other states to weather the recession because of its strong labor market and several major economic development projects.
Tax collections: Georgia’s net tax collection in November showed a decrease of $2.4 million, or -0.1%, compared to November 2021. However, tax revenues were higher after accounting for the continued suspension of the motor fuel tax, which reduced revenues by $172.5 million. Year-to-date net tax collections were $12.61 billion, an increase of 6.2% over FY 2022, according to a press release by the governor’s office. Individual income tax collections were 4.6% higher than FY2022, and revenues from the sales and use tax and the corporate income tax were also up from FY 2022.
New EV plant: Georgia is getting a new EV battery plant. A pair of companies plan to spend more than $4 billion to build a new electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility in Bartow County. State officials said the Hyundai Motor Group and SK On facility will create more than 3,500 new jobs. The new plant on U.S. Highway 411 will supply Hyundai Motor Group’s plants across the country and should start operations in 2025.
Balancing act: As the Georgia Public Service Commission considers an electricity rate case, Vice Chairman Tim Echols writes about the various interests he and his colleagues must keep in mind. Source: Albany Herald
Support for Universal ESAs: New polling conducted by Braun Research for EdChoice shows universal education scholarship accounts are popular among a wide section of Americans, regardless of political affiliation. A report released by the Foundation outlined how such a program in Georgia would not only improve academic achievement, but would also have long-term economic benefits for the state.
175 low-performing schools: The Georgia Department of Education has identified 175 low-performing schools that need additional support to improve student performance for the 2022-2023 school year, according to Capitol Beat. The good news is that 57 schools exited the list this year. This is the first year the state has updated the list of schools that will receive additional support since 2019 due to the data limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The schools are all Title I schools – schools where at least 40% of the students are from low-income families.
Top housing market: The greater Richmond County area — which includes Augusta — is among the top six U.S. housing markets for projected growth in 2023. It was Georgia’s only entry in Realtor.com’s company’s top 10 list. The U.S. housing market has fluctuated significantly through the past three years. However, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Augusta’s Richmond County ranked highly in Realtor.com’s report for its projected yearly percentage growth, in both total sales and anticipated prices.
Low home prices in Macon: Home buyers in Macon are in luck. According to Belong Home, a home in Macon is highly affordable and will only cost buyers about 14% of their local wages, the third lowest rate in the country. As reported by the Macon Telegraph, an affordable housing climate has made Macon’s housing market attractive to institutional investors.
Dangerous roads: A new analysis from MoneyGeek has identified the most dangerous roads in Georgia, and they are all in the metro Atlanta area. As reported by the Center Square, a fifth of deadly crashes involved drunk driving, while a similar amount (19%) were connected to speeding. MoneyGeek reviewed fatality data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 2018 to 2020 and analyzed 4,307 fatal crashes, including ones that involved pedestrians and bicyclists, to compile its list.
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