Rausch has been the business editor since September 2008, previously serving as senior business reporter. He joined the Chronicle in April 2007. He has written for newspapers in Napoleon, Ohio, Moline, Ill., and Lima, Ohio. He holds a bachelor of science in journalism from Ohio University (1992). In 2006, he received a second place award in business writing from the Association Press in Ohio.
Posted December 3, 2011 03:48 pm

Market favorable for apartment construction

With more apartment complexes going up across the area, ATC Development being the latest to build in Grovetown and Aiken, it begs the question about the market for apartment housing.

Cal Evans is the real estate analyst for Synovus/Augusta First Bank and Trust.

“Augusta fits an attractive profile being targeted by multifamily developers these days, a market with a large and growing military presence where base housing is not sufficient to meet demand,” he said. “We have seen the same trends in cities such as Columbus, Ga., and Fayetteville, N.C., both of which share these characteristics.”

Evans said that military families and students generally exhibit strong demand for multifamily units.

As the newer complexes come online, the older ones will suffer, because tenants will jump to the newer units of comparable value. So if you see some apartment complexes offering free months of rent and cable, that’s probably what is happening; they need to offer freebies to get tenants.

Nationally, the apartment market has gotten stronger. Quoting from a Marcus and Millichap report, Evans explained that roughly two-thirds of jobs created since the end of the recession have been for workers ages 20 to 34, a group that tends to live in apartments.

“There is also currently very strong demand for buyers of multifamily units, so developers have an opportunity to profit if they are not owner/operators,” Evans said.


BEST BARK IN BUSINESS: The list of the Bulldog 100 is out, and I see only one Augusta-area businesses on it – Bone Dry Roofing Co.

To get on the Bulldog 100, an organization must have been in business for at least five years, had revenues of $100,000 or more for the last calendar year, and be owned or operated by a former University of Georgia student. The program recognizes the fastest-growing businesses regardless of size by focusing on a three-year growth rate average.

Seven were on the list last year.


NEXT GENERATION: Carolina’s Rigging, on Gordon Highway, has new owners.

Jessica Sage, who is chief financial officer, and Skip Sawin, the chief operating officer, bought it from founders Rick and Valerie Sawin. Both of the new owners grew up in the business.

The firm was established in Charleston in 1988, and is a supplier for commercial construction, maritime shipping and port-relayed activity. The Augusta branch was established in 2003, when Rick and Valerie Sawin acquired Ayers Wire Rope of Jackson, and then relocated the business to Gordon Highway.

They are purveyors of mill and industrial supplies to local steel mills, power-generating stations and other manufacturers, including Georgia Iron Works and Savannah River Site.


GAS IS LOWERThe last time I noted gas prices were getting close to $3 a gallon or lower, it spiked back up. So let’s hope I don’t jinx it again.


FDIC SAYS: Georgia banks earned $324 million in the third quarter. Year-to-date, the state’s banking earnings were up by $1.1 billion compared to the same nine months in 2010. Noncurrent loans to total loans continued to decrease, and charge-offs year-to-date are about $1.4 billion less than at the same time in 2010.

“It’s encouraging to see continued signs of stabilization and improvement in Georgia bank performance. Family and business finances are stabilizing, too, as fewer loans are past due and charge-offs are down substantially,” says Joe Brannen, president and CEO of the Georgia Bankers Association.