This house in Atlanta was sold three times in one year, a sign of exploding investor interest in starter homes that is reshaping the nation’s housing market and driving up prices.
The house at 1375 Boulevard Lorraine always had what real estate people call “good bones.” A Craftsman-style bungalow, the house was modest — just 1,600 square feet on a single story — but it had a spacious front porch, and it sat on a corner lot atop a sloping lawn that meant passers-by looked up at it from the street. It was built in 1935, when this southwest Atlanta neighborhood, known as Adams Park, was a prosperous, middle-class area.
By the time an investor bought it in 2018, however, both the house and the neighborhood had fallen on hard times. Southwest Atlanta had been devastated by the foreclosure crisis, which turned whole blocks into rows of boarded-up houses and overgrown lawns. Boulevard Lorraine, with its canopy of arching trees, never fell quite that far, but it struggled. The property listing for the house called it “a great fixer upper” before warning prospective buyers that it was being “sold as is.” Louis Jackson, an investor operating through a limited liability corporation, paid just $85,000 for it.
There were reasons for Mr. Jackson to be confident in his gamble. The BeltLine, a project turning an abandoned rail line into a network of parks and trails, had helped transform much of southeastern Atlanta, drawing a new generation of young, affluent (and largely white) residents to the area and driving up property values. Now, the BeltLine was being extended to southwest Atlanta, and investors were betting on the same transformation. They bought nearly 26,000 homes in the Atlanta area in 2018, largely in the southwestern quadrant of the city — including at least four on Boulevard Lorraine.
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"Want a House Like This? Preparefor a Bidding War With Investors"; By BEN CASSELMAN and CONOR DOUGHERTY; New York Times; June 20, 2019