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Top 5 Neighborhoods for First Time Buyers!

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They say that the best time to buy real estate is 5 years ago.  And, there’s certainly something to be said for hindsight.  But, as we looked back at 2020 market sales, we decided to take a look at some of the best opportunities for First Time Buyers, based on 5 market stats: Sales Appreciation, Price per Square Foot, Units Sold, Days on Market and Sales Price/List Price Ratio.

We looked at 57 neighborhoods with a Median Price around $300K or less, and then picked 5 great neighborhoods for buyers to consider if they are looking for the next Hot Opportunity!


When we think of Sales Price Appreciation, we’re looking at how much the prices are going up.  Neighborhoods with high SPA might indicate that investors have started to flip properties, which helps drive the price of homes up.  Price appreciation could also be driven by new commercial development.  Or, improving schools.  In any event and whatever is driving those prices up…it might be a good chance for buyers to invest now, and see a good increase in the price of their house in the next few years.  Our top pick?  Grove Park/ Howell Station  Sales Price Appreciation in 2020 was +55%.  This was driven primarily by anticipation of the Bellwood Quarry and Westside Park as well as an upcoming$150M+ Microsoft development in the works.





Neighborhoods with a lower price per square foot means buyers get more bang for their buck and affordability in their new home. With an average 123 sqft larger and $29 less cost per square foot than East Atlanta, our top pick is: East Lake Terrace.   The neighborhood offers a convenient location, nestled just east of East Atlanta and south of Decatur.    East Lake Terrace is also popular with investors, so buyers have an inventory of renovated ranch homes (read…easy maintenance).   We often call the community a “hidden gem” right in the city!  A convenient location which close to all the amenities of the city without the city price tag. Look into East Lake Terrace for a hidden buyer’s gem.





The more homes sold in one area generally means more inventory which usually leads to less competition and more choices for buyers. Our choice for the top neighborhood for units sold is:  Riverside! This neighborhood was also chosen nationally as a US top  5 Hottest Neighborhood in 2017. The trend has stayed strong for Riverside, owing to their historic homes and location to Bellwood Quarry, Midtown and Westside Park. With greater inventory comes lower prices that continue to  work in the first-time buyer’s favor!






The longer a home stays on market, the more likely the seller will be to lower prices as the competition wanes and the motivation to close the deal grows larger! This is a great bargaining tool for the first time buyer and our pick for the days on market neighborhood is: Doraville!

Doraville is only halfway outside the perimeter so you can still have an ITP neighborhood with an OTP price! Near Buford Highway this cultural oasis is a culinary dream for foodies. A diverse and vibrant area full of communities from around the world. A true melting pot! This hot neighborhood is still a hidden gem but the word is getting out as investors are leaving Chamblee, so take advantage now!




Another factor to consider for targeting motivated sellers is sales price to list price ratio. Neighborhoods with a lower ratio will have sellers who are likely more willing to negotiate, be amenable to concessions and have less competition to drive up interest. With its great balance of affordability and quality, our pick for best neighborhood for SP/LP% is: Tucker!

For the first time buyer Tucker offers lots of low maintenance ranch homes and larger lots that other ITP neighborhoods. A charming main street and downtown district is family friendly and while Tucker is technically OTP it is convenient to Decatur and Atlanta so has the ITP advantages.



To learn more about any of these neighborhoods or if you are looking for help as a first time buyer navigating the process and seeking the perfect home to meet your needs, please get in touch with one of our helpful and knowledgeable agents. We live and work in these communities and would love to show you around!

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About The Author
Chris Boylan

As an 18 year resident of Atlanta, I have lived in Dunwody, Decatur, and for the past 4 years, here in historic Cabbagetown. Being a certified condominium sales specialist, I am intimately familiar with the Buckhead & Midtown condo markets. I also specialize in working with first-time home-buyers, where I always strive to act as a trusted adviser & assistant, rather than as a pushy sales-person. With a love for the Intown Eastside neighborhoods, and a passion for historic preservation, I strive to help buyers, sellers, and investors to preserve and enrich our community’s beauty, starting with our homes. Prior to becoming a Realtor, I attended undergraduate at Gettysburg College, were I double majored in Philosophy & Religious Studies. Afterwards, I attended the University of Georgia for a Master’s program in Philosophy. My master’s thesis was on "collective remembrance" & historic preservation, which is why I am very interested in being able to help preserve and add to Atlanta's rich cultural and architectural history. I hope I can share with you my real estate knowledge & experience, and my passion for the city of Atlanta, helping you find your new dream home, here in our community.