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Is Atlanta's Apartment Wave Pushing Buyers To The Fringes?

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Curbed Atlanta reader Melissa Medori has a dilemma. She's been in the market to buy a townhouse or condo on the burgeoning Westside for a couple of years — to no avail. Why? Low supply and high demand, she says. "With multiple projects happening ... there seems to be a glut of apartments coming to the neighborhood," she writes. "(But) White Provisions, M West, Huff Heights, and even the Waterworks, are just about the only condominium complexes available." Frustrated, Medori has expanded her search to include nearby houses — in tucked-away neighborhoods such as Howell Station and Riverside — that aren't situated exactly where she wants to be. Is her experience indicative of overzealous apartment developers neglecting an entire segment of the multifamily market — buyers? Possibly. A recent poll suggests overzealousness could be rampant with Atlanta's apartment crop, and that a glut is imminent.

Earlier this year, we counted more than 20 apartment projects in various stages of development, from the core of Buckhead to the East Atlanta Village. As rents climb and vacancy rates don't, more than 4,000 rental units had recently hit the intown market or were in the pipeline — some 3,000 of those in the hot Midtown market alone.

The website BisNow recently polled readers, asking if Atlanta's multifamily market was becoming overheated. More than 200 people responded, and roughly 65 percent felt that apartment developers are getting ahead of themselves, in terms of the recovery curve. But others seemed passionate that developers are on the right path. Some sample responses, via BisNow:

The naysayer:

"NYC has 1% vacancy, 5% to 10% annual rent increases and they still are not building. There is a need for more in-town, high-rise living, but this is just another example of short-sighted Atlanta developers. How does 2,600 units under construction and 6,000 proposed compare to Atlanta's condo stats in 2007? That didn't turn out well... neither has any building boom in Atlanta for that matter."

More optimistic outlook:

"This is a fraction of the calculated demand, and after years of nearly no development, a few thousands units will be quickly absorbed."
"Well in balance with projected job growth overall. A couple of submarkets may take longer to absorb but will be fine."
Back to Melissa, the frustrated buyer. Combing through older listings featured on Curbed, she found a three-bedroom on Paul Avenue, put in an offer and is waiting for the seller's lienholders to approve the short sale. If all goes as planned for her, the Westside's core community can count one less invested property owner.

· Atlanta's Apartment Glut [BisNow]
· A Tight Little 3/2 on the Westside, With Definite Upside Potential [Curbed Atlanta]
· Will Atlanta Drown in Wave of New Apartments? [Curbed Atlanta]