Peachtree Station Market Update

Did you know that 97 people a day are moving to the Atlanta area? Not everyone chooses to live in the city. In fact, there is a solid demand for homes in the suburbs. Many buyers want space for activities such as working from home, schooling from home, and entertaining & gathering — both indoors and outdoors. Some simply want a bigger yard, with more private outdoor space for themselves and their families. Homes in Peachtree Station neighborhood meet all these criteria and and have even more to offer! We have an impressive seller’s real estate market in my neighborhood…Peachtree Station subdivision, in Peachtree Corners, Georgia.

Peachtree Station neighborhood homes are always in high demand, but inventory is currently low. This is creating attractive selling prices for homeowners. Here is a snapshot of the Peachtree Station real estate market:

The following charts present a more detailed look at recent market activity in Peachtree Station, including active listings, pending sales, and recent sales. There has been a lot of fascinating activity lately, to say the least!




If you live in Peachtree Station, I hope you have found something of interest in this Market Update. As you can see, there are very few homes on the market right now, and due to the nature of our subdivision, plus the highly-rated schools, wonderful local parks, and vibrant Town Center, Peachtree Corners neighborhoods are attracting buyers.

If you live in a different neighborhood and would like a Market Update for your own neighborhood, please comment below or send me an email elizabethkay.pinder@harrynorman.com — I’d be happy to create a complimentary Market Update for you!

As a Harry Norman Realtor®, my goal is to guide my clients seamlessly through the ever-evolving real estate landscape, as a trusted ally, creating a positive experience for everyone.

In my kitchen: A Summer Favorite — Cookies ‘n’ Cream Ice Cream

Refreshing and indulgent — just what Summer ordered!

If you haven’t made homemade ice cream before, I encourage you to try it! There is something quite special about making your own summer dessert, something industrious about getting out the ice cream machine, and something magical about lifting off the cover and seeing that your cream custard has transformed into a frozen treat!

The recipe I share below is fairly straightforward and has always produced great results.

This indulgent recipe has simple and rich ingredients.

Start with an egg custard cooked on the stove (it’s not as complicated as it sounds!).

Whole milk, sugar, egg yolks, and salt are cooked at a low simmer for 5 minutes, until thick.

After the custard has cooked, strain it to remove any solids from the eggs.

Yikes! Don’t skip this step!

Here you’ll mix in half-and-half, whipping cream, and vanilla, and chill for around an hour.

Chilling this mixture first helps the ice cream machine work better.

Next pour it into the canister, add ice & rock salt all around…and turn on the machine.

In less than an hour, you can have yummy, creamy deliciousness!

Isn’t it pretty? 🙂
This is about 20 Oreos, crushed.

After removing the paddle, fold in the crushed cookies. (Never works to add when the canister is spinning — the cookies just dissolve!) Then I pour the “soft-serve” into a shallow plastic container and freeze for 5-6 hours. You can also serve it just like this. It’s yummy either way.

Freeze 5-6 hours, or even better — overnight.
Enjoy!

Do you like to make homemade ice cream? What’s your favorite kind? I’d love to know — please leave a comment!

In my Kitchen: Homemade Moisturizer

I first learned about this wonderful cream, sometimes called Rosemary’s Perfect Cream, from my niece, 6 or 7 years ago. Originally created by Rosemary Gladstar, this recipe is floating around different sites on the Internet, and there is a wonderful how-to video on YouTube featuring Ms. Gladstar. The first time I made it I was astounded! I had made my own beautiful, rich, face cream, and it was a pretty easy process.

I Love This Moisturizer

It is luscious — lightweight, creamy, mild, non-irritating. . . You can customize this cream however you like. You decide which types oils to use (avocado, apricot kernel, coconut, almond oil), you decide if you would like to have a scent (lavender, rosewater, orange, almond) or none at all. And you decide how thick you want it to be. Use this as a face cream or a body lotion. In fact, you can make the recipe using only the “oils” ingredients, and make yourself a thick balm that is terrific for soothing rough, dry winter skin. Be creative with it — or follow the recipe exactly.

It’s Easy to Make

The recipe is divided into two ingredient types — waters and oils. Combine the waters in one container, and in another bowl, melt the oils and cool to room temp. Then put oils in a blender, turn the blender on medium and slowly drizzle in the waters. Once the waters are all poured in, you may want to turn off the motor a moment and use a small spatula to incorporate all the oils from the corners into the center. Turn the motor back on, and soon you will hear the motor slow down, as the cream begins to thicken. When it slows way down — Voilá — Parfait! You have Rosemary’s Perfect Cream:)

Storage

I prefer using jars that have easy-on, easy-off lids. I’ve found it’s easiest to use jars with a wide opening, that aren’t too deep. I’ve bought glass jars from The Container Store and plastic jars from Amazon. I also use a mason jar to store a larger batch and then decant it into smaller jars as needed. Some people recommend storing this cream in the fridge. I store it in my pantry when it’s in a mason jar, or on the kitchen counter and bathroom vanity in smaller jars. I have never had an issue with the cream going bad.

Benefits

Some of the benefits of making and using this moisturizer: it’s a wonderful, effective, and rich moisturizer; it’s made with natural ingredients you can easily ID and pronounce; it is customizable to your preferences; make it all organic if you choose; it’s easy to make a fresh batch; it is cost effective; it makes a wonderful and unique gift for teachers, co-workers, your favorite barista . . . everyone loves receiving and using Rosemary’s Perfect Cream!

I hope you will try making a batch yourself. Please let me know, in the comments section, when you make it, how you like it, or if you have questions about it! Happy blending:)

Rosemary’s Perfect Cream

Waters
2/3 cup distilled water (or rose water)
1/3 cup aloe vera gel
1 or 2 drops essential oil of your choice
Vitamins A and E as desired

Oils
3/4 cup apricot, almond, or grapeseed oil
1/3 cup coconut oil or cocoa butter
1/4 teaspoon lanolin
1/2 to 1 ounce grated beeswax

Combine the waters in a glass measuring cup. Set aside. In a double boiler over low heat, combine the oils. Heat them just enough to melt. Pour the oils into a blender and let them cool to room temperature. The mixture should become thick, creamy, semisolid, and cream-colored. This cooling process can be hastened in the refrigerator, but keep an eye on it so it doesn’t become too hard. When the mixture has cooled, turn on the blender at its highest speed. In a slow, thin drizzle, pour the water mixture into the center vortex of the whirling oil mixture. When most of the water mixture has been added to the oils, listen to the blender and watch the cream. When the blender coughs and chokes and the cream looks thick and white, like buttercream frosting, turn off the blender. You can slowly add more water, beating it in by hand with a spoon, but don’t overbeat. The cream will thicken as it sets. Pour into cream or lotion jars and store in a cool location.

This recipe is from Simply Live Well blog.

This is how I store the ingredients, in my pantry. The initial cost of ingredients is around $40 or $50, depending on your selection, but you don’t use much of most ingredients in one batch. Therefore, the actual cost per batch is ridiculously low.

What’s Happening in Peachtree Corners — Town Green Summer Events

Peachtree Corners’ newest development, the Town Green — located in the popular Town Center, offers a variety of events over the summer months. From movies to concerts to livestream sports broadcasts on the giant screen, to early-morning yoga, there is surely something for everyone to enjoy!

PTC Town Center

The 21-acre Town Center is the new heartbeat of PTC community, with over 15 restaurants (Fire and Stone Italian Pizza Kitchen, Marlowe’s Tavern, Salata…), retail shops (Hollywood Feed, Boardroom Salon, Hand and Stone…), office space, and now, 75 new townhomes that overlook a 2+ acre Town Green park. The park is a central gathering place for many in our community, and hosts live outdoor concerts and seasonal events. The city’s landmark bridge located at the main entrance to the Town Center guides pedestrians over Peachtree Parkway and connects with the Corners Connector, the city’s pedestrian and bicycle trail system, and The Forum Shopping Center where many retail shops and more wonderful restaurants await.

PTC Town Green

The Town Green, designed as space for outdoor activities, includes so many wonderful features: an active water play space, open air pavilion, café tables, fire pit, 22′ digital display screen, open lawn, playable art, a fitness trail, and a 2,500 square-foot veterans’ monument featuring sculptures of military service people.


Town Green Summer Events

Summer Concert SeriesReservations Required

Night Music Series — Live, Local Music!

Flicks on the Green

  • Hook, Jul 3, 7:00 pm
  • Thor, Aug 7, 7:00 pm
  • Cars, Sept 4, 7:00 pm
  • Labyrinth, Oct 2, 7:00 pm

Sports on the Screen

  • Braves v Cardinals, Jun 19, 7:15 pm
  • Atl. United v New England, Jul 17, 5:00 pm
  • Atl. United v Columbus, Jul 24, 3:30 pm

Yoga on the Green provided by Sun Dragon Yoga

  • Every Tuesday 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. through Sep 28

All events are tentative. Check city website a week prior to event for confirmation.


Summer Concert Series

The third annual Summer Concert Series features bands from across the nation at the Town Green in the Town Center at 7:00 PM. Admission is FREE (with reservations, see below) to enjoy live music with bands from all over the country. Concerts are the last Saturday of the month, through September. Fans can bring food or visit one of the many restaurants located within the Town Center for carryout. 

June’s concert will feature the ultimate Eagles tribute, On the Border. Treating fans to an authentic concert experience while journeying through The Eagles songbook, the band covers favorites such as “Desperado” and “Lyin’ Eyes” as well as rockin’ hits such as “Life in the Fast Lane” and “Heartache Tonight” with such accuracy, that listeners may permanently confuse “On the Border” with the real Eagles!

Opening for On the Border will be Atlanta’s own Carly Burruss. Carly’s whimsical, tongue-in-cheek disposition combined with her lilting sound make her the country music singer/songwriter who stands out from the rest.

Concert Tickets: To ensure everyone’s safety Summer Concert Series will require tickets this year. Visit the Town Center Events page here for a link to reserve tickets. Tickets will be available about a week before each of the concerts and there is a 6-ticket limit per household. You will be given wristbands the day of the concert, according to the number of tickets you have reserved, when you show your tickets. Participants will be able to get their wristbands and set up their spot after 2:00 PM on the day of the show. All areas will be first come first serve on the day of the event. Attendees may set up lawn chairs throughout the event area.

All tickets must be redeemed by 7:30 PM. Any tickets that have not been redeemed by that time will become available to those waiting on a first come first serve basis.

Guests are asked to social distance and wear masks as often as possible while attending the event. Space is very limited and expected to fill up quickly. Once all reservations are filled, the event will be at capacity and no additional guests can be accommodated.


Night Music Series

No reservations are required to attend this music series, which features live local bands. June’s Night Music concert features The Sawgrass Blues Band. As described on their website, they are “homegrown, Roswellian, blues-loving machines, specially selected for smoothness and taste. Acoustic, eclectic, bluesy, electric, — toe-tapping, foot-stomping rock, rhythm, & blues!”


Flicks on the Green

Join your PTC neighbors on the Town Green for Flicks on the Green a FREE movie series featuring iconic movies on their anniversary, on the 22′ digital display! Mark your calendar for the first Saturday of each month through October 2. Movies will be begin at 7pm; bring a blanket and stretch out on the lawn and experience movies under the stars. Bring a picnic or grab food from your favorite Town Green restaurants.

Sports on the Screen

Come tailgate with fellow fans on the Town Green in July! A Braves baseball game and two Atlanta United soccer games will be live cast on the big screen (22′ digital display) at the Town Green. Sports fans are encouraged to bring their own coolers or purchase food and drink from one of the many restaurants in the Town Center. 

*Times and games could change last minute due to network availability


Yoga on the Green

Stretch and strengthen wit your neighbors at Yoga on the Green every Tuesday at 8:30 am, April 27 through September 28. Everyone from beginners to experienced yogis are welcome to this FREE class taught by David Penn from Sun Dragon Yoga.

What to Bring — Water (no glass containers), a small towel or two, and a mat if you have one. Please note the ground can be wet for these early morning classes so a towel under your mat can be helpful.

What to Wear — Wear comfortable clothes that allow a range of motion. Consider a close-fitting shirt, or a shirt that can be tucked in.  Come in whatever shoes you would like, as practice will be done barefoot.


EV charging is available at the Town Center

  • 4 Electrify America DCFC Stations 150kw – 350kw (parking deck, lower level)
  • 12 Tesla DCFC stations 350kw (parking deck, lower level)
  • 6 Level 2 charging stations (parking deck, two on each level)
  • To access charging, when entering Town Center from Hwy 141, head straight through the traffic circle and turn right, in front of Cinebistro. You’ll find chargers on the lower level there, and more on every level.

Some tips to keep in mind when attending PTC Town Green events

  • Items Allowed: Chairs & Blankets, Coolers 
  • Items Not Allowed: Tents, Grills, Glass Bottles
  • All events are tentative; Please check city website one week prior to event for confirmation.
  • Park and Walk — Parking is available at the Town Center parking deck, and additional parking is provided at 3720 Davinci Court. You’ll park there, cross PTC Circle, and access the Town Green via a pathway. Look for signage.

I hope all our locals will come out this summer and enjoy this beautiful space we have here at the Town Center in Peachtree Corners. I hope that we will have the chance to welcome lots of visitors, too! I’d love it if you would leave a comment to share your favorite summer outdoor community event!

Limewash Fireplace Transformation

My family bought our 1980s Williamsburg-style home, in Peachtree Corners, GA, in 2006. The home is tucked near a nice little cul-de-sac, deep in a subdivision full of 1980s Williamsburg-style homes. The homes are not too varied, interesting, or exciting, but do we love our home, our yard, and our neighborhood. The previous owners, who were the original owners, had made some quality upgrades to the house over the years. We have enjoyed continuing with numerous renovations ourselves.


One update we made a few years ago was kind of a big leap for me. It wasn’t a huge project, but was definitely a commitment. We limewashed the brick fireplace surround. When it comes to painting brick, there’s no going back…you can’t really “unpaint” brick. I’ve always felt that brick and wood are some kind of Sacred — you just can’t paint them on a whim! I realize many people feel this way. …but many don’t!

To my eye, the brick in our family room was a drab color, and while the surrounding oak bookcases were a great quality and of nice workmanship, I was tired of the heavy, honey-colored oak. That whole end of the room was dark.

This is from 2016, before we limewashed fireplace surround and painted the woodwork. Even with the inset lighting, that end of the room was dark and kind of blah. The wood and brick colors blended too much.

I looked into adding a fresh, current tile over the brick to update it, but after looking at pricing and logistics, we decided to try the limewash (since it’s inexpensive), and if we hated that, we could reconsider the work and expense of adding tile.

I was inspired by a few photos I found after Googling “painted brick fireplace” and settled on the limewash effect. We went with Romabio Avorio White Limewash Interior/Exterior Paint, which was in stock at Home Depot. I liked the limewash because it wasn’t going to completely cover the tones of the brick. Limewash paint gives a unique “whitewash” effect. The product we chose is a one-coat process, no priming required. That’s what sealed the whole deal for me.  According to the Romabio website this product is toxin free and environmentally friendly. Romabio Limewash is mineral-based and is derived from sustainable materials. . . . Bonus! And we were thrilled with the results!

The limewash process gives an old-world, antiqued/weathered look. Some of the brick color remains exposed, which results in a warmth you just wouldn’t have with a painted brick.

Here is a terrific sampling of the Romabio Limewash colors, found at brick&batten.com.

We decided to keep the oak mantle in place, as is, as it compliments our oak floors, and has a nice, neutral style.  So after taping off the edges by the mantle, bookcases, floor, and ceiling, we were ready to experiment.

The application was very easy. We went with the recommended 50% dilution (see chart below; the .67-gallon can was plenty for our fireplace surround). Before applying the limewash, we misted a 3’x3′ area of the brick with a spraybottle of water. Once the brick was damp, we used a paintbrush to apply the wash. It soaks right in!

Keep your brick damp with water as you apply the limewash.

We adjusted the look by applying plenty of the product and then washing off in random areas, so the brick color would peek through. We were able to balance out the intensity with some vigorous buffing, and there was lots of stepping back to observe, adding or removing the wash, and more observing after that!


This was at the end of the first day. We did remove a little more the next day, as it was a little more opaque than we wanted.

Removal is possible for up to two days after the initial application — very forgiving. This product can be re-applied to add color depth, even past the two-day removal limit. Since the finish is flat, touchups are undetectable. Nota Bene: the product dries more opaque and it looks “thicker” or “darker” when dry than when it’s wet. We ended up removing quite a bit over the next couple of hours, adjusting the amount of brick color and the “location” or “pattern” of the red that showed through.

Romabio Classico Limewash dilution recommendations


1L/1QT.2.5L/0.67GAL15L/4GAL
50%500ml1.25L7.5L
70%700ml1.75L10.5L

After the wonderful transformation with the limewashed  masonry, we decided to go ahead and have the woodwork painted to coordinate with the wall color, Silver Strand (7057, Sherwin Williams). The paint colors we used are: bookcases “Attitude Gray” (7060); wainscoting “Unusual Gray” (7059); all Sherwin Williams colors. 

‘White Rose Trio’ over mantle, by Tatyana Klevenskiy

This update truly brightened this part of my home. Adding the limewash to the fireplace surround and then painting the woodwork gave everything a fresher, cleaner, more updated feel. I just love it!

Low Mortgage Rates Benefit Many — Not Just Buyers

Mortgage rates are continuing to hold below 3% this spring. Rates were at record-breaking lows throughout most of 2020, during the unprecedented real estate market during the global pandemic. After rising a fraction in early 2021, the rates for a 30-year mortgage were averaging at 2.98%  on April 29, 2021. It’s natural to see homebuyers as reaping the real benefits from this. But consider others who benefit … even if you are not in the market for a new home, you could benefit from these low rates.

Advantage for buyers

It’s obvious that homebuyers are the most directly benefiting from the low interest rates. Says Realtor.com® Chief Economist Danielle Hale, “Today’s mortgage rates give home buyers a much needed boost in purchasing power that will help them navigate higher home prices, which nearly every housing market across the country is seeing right now.” Perhaps reluctant would-be homebuyers are actually ready to act now in response to the lower interest rates. With the usual springtime increase-in-inventory, the market is turning a little more friendly to buyers the coming months.

Now is also a great time for 2nd-home buyers to make their dreams come true. Even if a great purchase price bargain is hard to come by in today’s housing market, you can still lock in at a respectable low interest rate and save a lot of money in the process. If owning a beach condo has been a goal for your family, this is a great time to buy, as the market for condominiums is not quite as competitive as the market for single-family detached homes.


Advantage for sellers

The climate of today’s housing market is by far the most advantageous for the seller. Low mortgage rates spur buyer demand, plain and simple. The more buyers, the more bidding wars and the higher the sales prices go. This also gives more negotiating power to the seller. 

Houses are on the market for a shorter time right now, with the average days on the market (DOM) being 18, as compared to the average over the last few years being 35-50, depending on the city. Higher DOM can make buyers wonder what’s wrong with the home, and after a few weeks, as interest drops, the appeal of the home drops. 


Advantage for the homeowner not planning to sell 

Lower rates are a positive incentive for refinancing, which can reduce monthly mortgage payments.  An increase in the homeowner’s equity can result, as well as the possibility of eliminating the pesky mortgage insurance.

All this can enhance a homeowner’s overall financial status. Quoted on the CNBC.com website, Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst for LendingTree says, “One of the best things Americans can do right now is build up their savings while trimming their debt.” When any loan balance is high compared to the original borrowed amount, credit scores are lower. Eliminating debt leads to financial security and peace of mind.

Even an advantage for renters

Landlords may take advantage of refinancing their rental property, which can lower their monthly payment and thus eliminate the need for increased rents during the hard times of the pandemic.

Many Americans are purchasing rental properties, taking advantage of the low interest rates. This makes more homes and apartments available to renters. “There’s just been extraordinary demand for rental homes in a lot of these secondary cities, tertiary cities, suburban markets, where a lot of the single-family rental properties are located,” said Gary Beasley, CEO of Roofstock, a marketplace for buying and selling single-family rental properties. According to an article on money.com, large portion of rental purchasers are first-time investors and many of those are moving from renter to landlord. Many of these properties become short-term rentals, through Airbnb or VRBO platforms. Since the onset of the pandemic, there seems to be a move away from hotels and motels and a trend of vacationers choosing detached homes, or condominiums, which don’t require as many close physical interactions during the vacation stay.


What’s next?

Mortgage rates are inching upward monthly. March saw the first dramatic increase over the previous 12 months, but the trajectory has slowed back in the last month. Rates are expected to stay below 3.20%, which is still a relatively low rate compared to the last few years. 2021 looks to be a safe time to make that home purchase, or secondary home purchase. Still, it’s good to keep in mind, the market is volatile, and speculation is just that. But home value growth is sure to remain in 2021.



If you are interested in selling or buying a home, I’d love to be of help as your Harry Norman Realtor. As a seller listing your home with me, you can be assured that your home will have the best market exposure. Harry Norman properties are featured on thousands of real estate websites visited by millions of qualified viewers. No other Atlanta residential real estate brokerage offers greater local, national, and international exposure. We are relocation specialists, so your home will be marketed not just to local Georgians, but specifically to the thousands of buyers relocating to the Atlanta area. We will present your home in the best light, with an eye toward the shortest time on the market and the best selling price. As a buyer’s agent with Harry Norman, I will work closely with you, taking in to account your specific and individual needs in the home buying process and I will be your exclusive advocate. It is to your advantage as a buyer, especially in this erratic market, to have a realtor who can make sure your offer stands out from the others, and that the contract is aligned with your best interests.

If you have questions about your neighborhood housing market trends, or are interested in buying or selling, I’d love a chance to chat with you about it all. Please contact me via email at ElizabethKay.Pinder@HarryNorman.com so we can set up an in-person or phone appointment.

Elizabeth Kay Pinder, Realtor ~ Harry Norman, REALTORS ~ 404-394-4646, mobile ~ 404-394-2131, office ~ ElizabethKay.Pinder@HarryNorman.com ~ ElizabethKayPinderWeb.HarryNorman.com

Sources

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/28/the-fed-keeps-rates-near-zero-heres-how-you-can-benefit.html

https://www.realtor.com/news/real-estate-news/mortgage-rates-drop-home-prices-rise/

https://www.opendoor.com/w/blog/why-days-on-market-matter

https://money.com/historic-low-mortgage-rates-new-investment-property/

Atlanta’s Real Estate Resilience

What made the ATL real estate market resilient last year? How is it possible that we had a market boom during a pandemic? I believe the resiliency of the Atlanta real estate market was due to the very nature of our great city: the strong economy for jobs and growth, and the housing affordability of Metro Atlanta. Add to that the fortunate favorable mortgage rates, and you have a resilient real estate market.

Jobs and growth

Georgia showed impressive economic progress in the first half of 2020, despite alarming closures and job losses. And according to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, by the end of 2020, while jobless rates were still considerably lower than in 2019, employment rates were growing in 10 of the 14 metro areas. Labor commissioner Mark Butler spoke enthusiastically of “the resilience that Georgia has to offer during this economic rebound.” Where are all these jobs?

Buckhead’s Financial District employs over 13,000 — almost half the finance workers in metro Atlanta. Spanning across GA 400 and the MARTA rail system RED Line is the landmark Atlanta Financial Center.

There has been an increase in jobs in construction, legal, tech, finance, and the education and health industries. Many Atlantans already worked from home pre-pandemic, and this number certainly and necessarily increased in 2020. Last year many jobs were retained in Atlanta due to the flexibility of both employers and employees.

Tech Hub

1105 WEST PEACHTREE
A 410 foot tall multi-use development designed to offer “an unrivaled office community designed to help companies recruit and retain the best talent.”

Metro Atlanta has a significant and growing tech hub and home to 23 Fortune 500 companies. That equals a continual increase in jobs; many of them high-paying. Under construction now are Midtown Union, the new Invesco headquarters located at W. Peachtree and 17th Street; 1105 West Peachtree — a mixed use development which will include Google’s Southeast headquarters; and the Norfolk Southern 1.5 million sq. ft. headquarters, also located on W. Peachtree. Microsoft just announced its new hub in Atlantic Yards, bringing 2,500 jobs with it, and future plans for developing the mixed-use Quarry Yards in West Atlanta. These developments not only provide construction jobs now, but they guarantee thousands of jobs in the tech and hospitality industries and ultimately increase the demand for housing in Metro Atlanta.

Entertainment Industry

The entertainment industry loves Georgia — we rank #1 for film production. In 2019 over 400 feature films and tv shows were shot in Georgia. And despite the pandemic, in 2020 $2.2 billion was spent filming. Over 40,000 production workers will be employed on an expected 75 production projects during the next year, with 50 currently in production or filming prep.

Although still down from pre-pandemic levels, Metro Atlanta job-growth has doubled for the last few months. All these factors show Georgia’s economy to be resilient.



Lower Interest Rates

Mortgage rates are one of the primary drivers of the success of the housing market. Interest rates in 2020 reached lows not seen since the 1970s. Rates dipped as low as 2.66% in December for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. This factor alone can boost home sales dramatically. Millennials are leading the way for first-time homebuyers thanks to these low rates. Leading institutions indicate that although there will be increases in 2021, rates will remain relatively low, possibly reaching 3.4%. Rates are predicted to increase more in 2022, making 2021 a promising year for new mortgages.


Mortgage Interest Rates Forecast
Source
20212022
Fannie Mae2.7%2.9%
Freddie Mac2.9%3.2%
Mortgage Bankers Association3.4%3.9%
Harry Norman, REALTORS® Metro Atlanta Residential Real Estate Forecast


Metro Atlanta’s Affordable Housing

Even with housing prices increasing by an average of 8% last year, Metro Atlanta has remained an affordable place to live.  The national monthly average cost of home ownership is 30% of income. Metro Atlanta comes in at 23.8%. Compared to New York City (40%) Atlanta is in the upper tier of affordable cities with a large population. For many people relocating to Atlanta from more expensive real estate markets, the increase in the local cost of housing here was not an obstacle.

Over 20 homes at various stages of construction in a new neighborhood, Newbury Place, going up in Loganville, GA. The builder, Starlight Homes, based in Alpharetta, is popular with first-time homebuyers.

Affordable housing, a robust (but still unsettled) economy, and job growth are factors that combined last year for an expected increase in real estate demand. Add to this: changes in lifestyles, relocations for jobs, and the record-breaking low interest rates and the results speak for themselves. Atlanta has a booming real estate market. One plain obstacle to a thriving market in 2021 is the short supply of homes. But even that angle won’t slow the Metro Atlanta market. Although there are building materials supply challenges, new construction is expected to increase 9% in 2021, with a forecast for 50,000 new units (MetroStudy). In this exciting and profitable market, many would-be sellers are recognizing the opportunity and are ready to cash in on their equity.


What is your experience with the 2020 housing market? Do you have any stories to share? I’d love to read about them…please comment below!

Peachtree Corners, GA

A corner of my kitchen

I have a spot in my kitchen that is all set up for making espresso drinks. I can remember how, when I was growing up in the 70s, my mother would sit for hours and hours at the kitchen table with her sister and their friends, laughing, talking, and pouring and sipping their coffee. Mama drank hers black. She liked good strong coffee! Coffee for her was something to be savored and enjoyed and crafted. As an adult I liked the coffee she made, but I never had a big cup, a small cup was plenty for me — and I definitely had it black, too. I like to taste it!

That’s why an espresso machine is perfect for my taste in coffee. It’s just a small amount at a time, and it’s nice & rich. It’s crafted. I like it.

About 6 years ago I got my first espresso machine. I paid $5 for it at a thrift shop. It was a little Krups machine that probably cost $99 new. I wasn’t fancy. It just had one button and one knob, and a steam wand for the milk. It was a perfect intro to espresso making. Through trial and error I learned how to make a good espresso and I enjoyed that machine for a few years.

Usually when I’m having a latte, I brew the espresso directly into the cup then pour the steamed milk on top.

This time, with my Krups machine, I steamed the milk first, poured it into my cup, and then brewed the espresso into the milk, just to see what it would be like. This is what appeared: an image of Mother and Child. I couldn’t have designed this myself if I’d tried!


Eventually the portafilter (where the grounds sit) started leaking, so I gave it to my son, who took it to our basement workshop where it will be taken apart (probably for the pump inside). 

I spent some time (ok, a LOT of time) online, researching espresso machines. I wanted a new one that was simple to use, with not too many bells and whistles, that was affordable, and one that would be a step up from the Krups. I did find a great machine — the Italian-made Gaggia Classic.

It makes terrific espresso shots, and the steamed milk is pretty decent, although I think the newer models have improved the technology in that area. Anyway I don’t have lattes too often — I usually just enjoy just having a simple espresso shot in the morning.

I upped my game and got a fancy grinder Christmas 2019. That was fun! It’s niiiiiice.


I have some lovely accoutrements which bring me great pleasure while I have my coffee. This little café caddy belonged to my late mother and houses my collection of special cups and mugs and flavorings.

Some are thrifted, some were gifts, and some were Mama’s. I bought the two pretty glasses in Valencia, Spain and they cost about 50 cents each. The shop owner recalled to me how her father and his friends used to drink their coffee out of those exact kinds of glasses every day. I liked the idea of that! (Why didn’t I buy more than two??)

One of my favorite things in the caddy is this little coffee pot salt & pepper set I inherited. Mama bought it online about 15 years ago. She was very surprised when the set arrived, because she was expecting a full-sized double-burner coffee warmer! She didn’t know it was a miniature salt & pepper set. “I wondered why it was so cheap…” she mused! Mama had such a great sense of humor and she didn’t mind laughing at herself. She always kept the little Lockhorns cartoon with it, tucked underneath!


The very best part of my espresso experience is the coffee itself. No matter how awesome the equipment is, if you don’t have good coffee beans, it won’t taste good. It just won’t. I am very lucky because my brother Rob owns a coffee shop, Java Lords Coffee House & Bar, in Little 5 Points, Atlanta, GA. He roasts the coffee beans himself — they are super fresh and Fair Trade, too.

My favorites are the beans from Yirgacheffe and Tanzania. There is a natural, subtle variation with every batch Rob roasts, but these particular beans tend to have a warm, sweet, fruity aroma! Rob always has a terrific house blend on hand, which he calls “Lord’s House”.

Other special roasts include Mourning Blend (that “u” changes the meaning, right) Dead Souls’, and Darkness Blend. He also roasts beans from Sumatra, Thailand, Mexico, Columbia, Peru, Brazil, Nicaragua, and other places as well. In my opinion, Java Lords sells the best coffee beans. When I can’t get over L5P to replenish, I do like to buy Allegra Coffee Beans from Whole Foods. They are pretty good and I enjoy those espressos, but when I get back to my Java Lords beans…it’s just soooo good! 

I’m lucky to have come up with a great combination of elevated equipment, my pretty tableware, and the unparalleled coffee beans. It’s a nice start to my day and I just love it! Do you have a coffee ritual, or a machine you love? Do you have special mugs or other accoutrements that give you warm feelings? Leave me a comment! I’d love to hear…