There’s a the age old question everyone thinks about when they decide to move to a city in Georgia:
Should I buy a place or rent?
Well, we aren’t here today to solve that problem for you exactly. We are just assuming you’ll do the right thing and a buy a place 😉
And while we are happy to tell you the best place to live in Georgia, this analysis is going to tackle the question of the best place to buy a house as an investor. That is we are going to try and determine the up and coming cities in the Peach State.
To do that we are going to look at places in Georgia that are growing faster than average, but where home prices are below average. In every day terms, the ‘deals’.
The best deal in Georgia at the moment? That would be Dallas according to our analysis.
Here’s a look at the top ten places to buy a home in Georgia:
- Dallas (Photos | Homes)
- Fort Oglethorpe (Photos | Homes)
- Stockbridge (Photos | Homes)
- Fairburn (Photos | Homes)
- Villa Rica (Photos | Homes)
- Lawrenceville (Photos | Homes)
- Rome (Photos | Homes)
- Dalton (Photos | Homes)
- Powder Springs (Photos | Homes)
- Thomasville (Photos | Homes)
The methodology that wen’t into this can be a bit complicated, so we’ll break it down for you in as much detail as we can below.
How do you determine the best places to buy a home in Georgia?
We were in real estate for almost five years and have been working on this site for another three. Suffice is to say, we’ve put a lot of thought into what goes into finding a good place to buy a home.
So all that thinking has come to this moment where we get to spell out how we’d approach finding an up-and-coming place to live in Georgia. Put differently, the analysis will try to find places in Georgia with undervalued homes relative to pent up demand.
To do that we looked at the most recent American Community Survey Census data for 2012-2016 and compared it to the previous vintage (2011-2015). Specifically, we used the following criteria:
- Y-o-Y Change In Population (People want to live here)
- Y-o-Y Change In Median Home Prices (People are willing to pay for it)
- Home Prices Relative To The State Average (It’s still kinda cheap)
We want places that are growing, have seen home prices increase in recent years, and are still ‘cheap’ for Georgia with the following caveats:
- Home prices had to be within 20% of the state average (Much lower than that and you get to some of the more dangerous places)
- Home prices increased in the last year, and
- Above 5,000 people (Bigger cities have more data points)
So of the 620 cities and towns in Georgia, only 26 places made it through our initial filters to even be considered.
We then ranked each place from 1 to 26 for the criteria mentioned above with 1 being the best for that criteria. We averaged the rankings to create a ‘best place to buy’ index with the place having the lowest index being the best.
Turns out that Dallas is the best potential gem in the not-so-rough in the Peach State.
Read on for more on these places.
Dallas was designated the new county seat in 1852 by the inferior court of the county. It was incorporated by an act of the Georgia General Assembly on February 8, 1854, on 40 acres (160,000 m2) purchased from Garrett H. Spinks on May 14, 1852, for $1000. Its first commissioners were James H. Ballinger, James S. Hackett, Hezekiah Harrison, John S. Poole, and Garrett H. Spinks.
The United States Army established a cavalry post at the site of Hargrave, Georgia, an unincorporated town situated next to the Chickamauga National Battlefield. The existing settlement was named for a Confederate soldier, William Hamilton Hargrave, who along with his wife Amelia Cecilia Strange-Hargrave owned most of the land in the area. The couple was well known in the 19th century to travellers heading to Ross’s Landing on the Tennessee River from LaFayette, Georgia. William Hargrave and other landowners in the area were forced to sell their property to the Army to be used as a base for the 6th Cavalry. The Chickamauga Post established in 1902 by the U.S. Army was later named Fort Oglethorpe after James Oglethorpe, the founder of the Colony of Georgia. During World War I and World War II, the area served as a war-time induction and processing center, and also housed German prisoners of war. Fort Oglethorpe was a major training center for the Women’s Army Corps during World War II. The post was declared surplus in 1947 and sold to civilians, forming the nucleus for a city that was incorporated in 1949.
The area was settled in 1829 when Concord Methodist Church was organized near present-day Old Stagecoach Road. It was granted a post office on April 5, 1847, named for a traveling professor, Levi Stockbridge, who passed through the area many times before the post office was built. He was said to be well known and respected in his namesake community. Others contend that the city was named after Thomas Stock, who was State Surveyor and president of the Georgia State Senate in the 1820s.
Fairburn is located along a railroad line and was the county seat of Campbell County starting in 1871. It was chosen as county seat in a referendum in 1871 that was spurred by the original seat of Campbellton refusing to allow the Atlanta & West Point Railroad line through on account of the anticipated noise in the 1850s. The railroad instead passed through Fairburn. Campbellton then faded away as Fairburn grew. The government of Campbell County went bankrupt in 1931 during the Great Depression and, along with Milton County to the north, was absorbed into Fulton County when 1932 began.
5. Villa Rica
The location which was to become Villa Rica was originally settled in 1826 along what is now Dallas Highway. This land was ceded by the Creek people in 1825 with the second Treaty of Indian Springs signed by Chief William McIntosh. In 1826, farmers and gold miners arrived in the area from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware to what was then known as ‘Hixtown’ (named after a local tavern operator, incorporated in 1830). One mile south was Chevestown, owned by Allison Cheeves. Hixtown and Cheevestown moved to Villa Rica’s present location in 1882 when the railroad was built. Many of the original structures were physically moved to the new site (now known as the North Villa Rica Commercial Historic District) by rolling them on logs pulled by horses. The city was incorporated as Villa Rica in 1881. The name Villa Rica is derived from the Spanish for ‘rich village’, and the city’s name change was done to help promote the gold that had been found in the area.
Lawrenceville was incorporated by an act of the Georgia General Assembly on December 15, 1821. This makes Lawrenceville the second oldest city in the metropolitan Atlanta area. The city is named after Commodore James Lawrence, commander of the frigate Chesapeake during the War of 1812. Lawrence, a native of New Jersey, is probably best known today for his dying command, ‘Don’t give up the ship!’ William Maltbie, the town’s first postmaster, suggested the name of ‘Lawrenceville’.
People of the Mississippian culture are known to have inhabited the area from about 1000 CE. These people are believed to have died off from disease brought by exposure to the Spaniards in the late 16th century. The Cherokee migrated into the Southeast and established themselves in the early 17th century.
Woodland Indians and Creek Nation held the area of present-day Dalton, Georgia until the mid-18th century, when the Cherokee pushed the Creek to the west and south. The Cherokee Indians called the mountains of north Georgia their ‘Enchanted Land’ until their forced removal in 1838, in a tragedy known today as the Trail of Tears.
The town of Powder Springs was incorporated as Springville in 1838 in the lands of two Cherokee Indian leaders. Gold had been discovered in Georgia ten years earlier, and the first European-American settlers came to find gold. The settlers found little gold in the mines at Lost Mountain and off Brownsville Road. It was at about this time that the Cherokee people were forced off their land and removed to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River on the Trail of Tears.
Thomasville was founded in 1825 as seat of the newly formed Thomas County. It was incorporated as a town in 1831 and as a city in 1889. The community was named for Jett Thomas, a general in the War of 1812.
There You Have It – The Best Places To Purchase A House In Georgia
There’s our analysis of the best places to buy a house in Georgia. And, to be clear, we aren’t necessarily saying these places are the best places to live, just that it looks like they might be in a couple of years based on the data.
In fact, every place in the following table meets our criteria, so even though it may not look super long, remember we started off with all 620 places in the state.
So if we’d could rent or buy in these cities, we’d definitely buy.
For more Georgia reading, check out:
Detailed List Of The Best Places To Buy A Home In Georgia