After a pandemic-related lull, the housing market is again booming in Northeast Georgia.

That’s good news for the local economy, says Ruth Ann Miller. She is the executive officer for the Athens Area Home Builders Association (AAHBA), a professional trade group that tracks new construction and remodeling trends in nine counties in Northeast Georgia.

“As the housing industry grows, so grows the rest of the economy,” she said. AAHBA monitors trends in a nine-county area northeast of metro Atlanta.

“This has been a fast-growing area of the state for years, but with recent announcements by big manufacturers like electric vehicle maker Rivian Automotive, we’ve moved from steady to explosive,” she added, pointing to year-over-year gains in residential construction permits.  

Home building in Northeast Georgia mirrors national statistics. Single-family housing starts in the U.S. hit an 11-month high in May, despite elevated interest rates and higher price tags. Demand that exceeds existing home inventory and improving supply chains are behind the trend, reports the National Association of Home Builders, a source for the housing market and consumer resources.

Spencer Frye, president of AAHBA, doesn’t see the local boom going bust anytime soon.

“As single-family housing has become a Wall Street commodity and hedge funds continue to pour money into rental acquisitions, the demand to achieve the American dream of homeownership will continue to rise as Georgia’s population increases,” he said.

That comes as no surprise to those who have watched the largely rural area transform into new subdivisions and commercial districts.