Local
10:36 pm
Sun December 29, 2013

Improved Housing Market Helps Local Economy

Georgia’s unemployment rate has dropped every month since July.

And some in one Metro Atlanta county say they see things are getting better.

Mark McCirchum is a respiratory therapist. He lives in Oxford. The Newton County city is about 35 miles east of Atlanta. He says his perspective on the local economy there has changed.

Mark McCirchum, a respiratory therapist, has changed his perspective on the economy.
Mark McCirchum, a respiratory therapist, has changed his perspective on the economy.
Credit Charles Edwards / WABE News

“From 2008 up until maybe last year, the housing and business development just came to a standstill,” said McCirchum. “Now, you’re starting to old businesses being occupied by new businesses but actually new buildings going up.”

McCircum says he’s personal financial situation hasn’t really changed over the past 12 months. But, he says seeing new businesses pop up helps him feel more inclined to spend money.

“I don’t second guess for gifts or even my own personal expenses,” said McCirchum. “I feel a little more comfortable in that regard.”

He’s not the only one seeing real estate action people are seeing in Newton County.

“I know our family has invested in some property and starting to see a lot more interest,” said Covington native Katherine Lee.

Covington native Katherine Lee has seen recent improvements to the economy in Newton County.
Covington native Katherine Lee has seen recent improvements to the economy in Newton County.
Credit Charles Edwards / WABE News

She’s not the only one who has seen or heard about improvements in the real estate market.

Tony Ramsey manages Ramsey’s Furniture company in Covington.

“I think the housing market here has definitely improved,” said Ramsey.  “They’re not back to where they should be prior to the downturn but I think people are feeling a little bit better about seeing some value coming back in their homes.”

The County’s chief appraiser was unavailable to comment for this story. But, anecdotally, residents there say the real estate market is on the rebound. That’s why Ramsey suspects he’s been able to see more expenses couches and beds.

Tony Ramsey says sales for Ramsey Furniture Company are up. He credits an improved real estate market.
Tony Ramsey says sales for Ramsey Furniture Company are up. He credits an improved real estate market.
Credit Charles Edwards / WABE News

“We were selling a lot of $299, $399 queen sets. Now, we’re selling some higher priced items, which is nice.”

Newton County’s unemployment rate in November, the latest number available, was 8.2%.

Regional and statewide numbers were better last month. Metro Atlanta’s unemployment rate was 7%. Also in November, Georgia’s unemployment rate was 7.7%