FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — As supplies fall and demand rises, rents are on the rise in Cumming.
Recent figures from apartmentlist.com, an online apartment database, show rent has increased 9.7 percent over the last year in the city.
This comes to no surprise to Nancy Wright, the property manager at The Columns at Pilgrim Mill with over 40 years of real estate experience.
As a frequent contributor to the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce monthly Real Estate Roundtable events, she talks about this topic often.
Every week she and her colleagues consolidate and analyze the data on the real estate market for the area. She then shares that information at the chamber meetings.
“Market rates are impacted upon availability,” she said. “In Forsyth County that is limited as you don’t have a lot of multi-family choices.”
In this market place, the buyers are not your typical apartment dwellers, she said, as they are in a more transitional period.
“There are a lot of people relocating to the county,” Wright said. “This is because we are on every list of the best place to live, open a business and raise kids.”
Schools are a huge draw and Forsyth County often tops the list of where to send your children.
“Because of that, the demand in the area for transitional housing on a lease type basis has increased,” Wright said.
The county is in its fifth year of double-digit rent increases, she said. For the community, that is beneficial.
“If you want to buy a house, the current inventory will be exhausted in six weeks,” Wright said. “That’s what you tend to call a seller’s market. As far as inventory, we don’t have a lot of developments of townhomes or duplexes. Availability is a big key. There are people coming into the county from all over, and we don’t have the inventory. It’s market driven.”
Currently, one-bedroom apartments in the county are starting at $1,000 a month, she said. In comparison to bigger, more expensive cities like Buckhead that charge about $1.50 per square foot, Cumming charges about $1 per square foot.
“It’s beneficial because the profiles of the individuals we are getting are our target,” Wright said. “They have higher incomes due to income qualification. We have one of the highest per-capita incomes in Georgia. That, of course, carries over into rental housing.”
But basing rent off income might be a problem for the county, as affordable housing is virtually non-existent, she said.
“When your biggest employer is the medical industry, it’s difficult for those people to find a place to live,” she said. “We don’t have public transportation for them to come in from other markets to get jobs here.”
She said the future of the county will continue to be a growth market for multi-family lodging, including more 55 and older housing.
“For 55 and older housing, you don’t have to worry about your infrastructure like the roads and schools,” Wright said. “Those are the highest dollar output right now.”
However the millennials will be seeking to rent more, she said, and that will be difficult when the county limits multi-family permits.
“Nationally, the United States is trending to over a 55 percent rental market versus ownership,” she said. “Up until the 2007-12 market debacle, you had higher growth in single-family home ownership. Now it’s flipping because the millennials don’t want to go through that and get stuck with a house they can’t sell.”