Home price range varies

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With the high cost of home ownership in Columbia County, are more apartments needed?

The county commission recently shot down zoning for a proposed apartment complex. But some say that because not everyone can afford a good home in the affluent county it could benefit from a good stock of high-end apartments.

Others contend that enough apartments are planned, with 1,879 units possible in the next 10 years, and that there's no shortage of homes either.

"I think we have adequate inventory in all price ranges," said real estate agent Larry Miller, of Century 21, referring to the county's stock of homes.

"Sometimes you have to adjust your pocketbook to your expectations. You may not be able to get the exact home you want, but maybe it's buy now, get into the market and as time goes by move up to something a little closer to what you had hoped to have," he said.

Bill Coleman, an attorney who represented the firm that unsuccessfully asked for the apartment zoning off Wheeler Road, told commissioners that there's a need for upscale apartments.

"There's some young people who can't afford a nice home (in Columbia County)," he said.

Figures from the county's tax assessors' office shows a wide range of home prices in the past year, with sales ranging as high as $1.4 million for a lot in The Summit subdivision to $76,441 for a 925-square-foot home built after 2005.

In the past, officials have said the average household in Columbia County was valued at about $100,000. Latest figures show the average Columbia County house sold in the past year for $163,590.

Columbia County has 35,200 homes, about one home for every three residents in the county of nearly 107,000.

With assessments rising, Columbia County homes are only becoming more valuable.

This year, the county's tax digest grew by 15.65 percent, 52 percent of that from new growth, and the remainder from reassessments.

Ultimately, that allows homeowners to attempt selling their home for more. And sales aren't slowing down.

In the past year 3,041 houses or mobile homes sold, said Columbia County Chief Appraiser Debbie Robertson.

Just last year, the county also had 1,500 new homes added to its tax base.

Some figures, though, show that not everyone is able to pay for a home in the county.

Since 2005, a total of 1,052 home foreclosures have occurred in the county, said Columbia County Clerk of Court Cindy Mason. Of that total, 413 occurred in 2005, 426 were in 2006 and there have been 213 so far this year.

"So it seems to be about the same (each year)," Ms. Mason said.

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 868-1222, ext. 115, or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.com.

COLUMBIA COUNTY HOMES BY THE NUMBERS


$163,590: Average overall sales price for past year


$187,891: Average sales price for homes circa 2005 or newer


$158,412: Average sales price for homes 2004 and older


$12,000: Lowest sale of home in past year


$795,000: Highest sale of a home older than 2004


$76,441: Lowest sale price on a home circa 2005 or newer


$1.4 million: Highest sale on a home circa 2005 or newer


1,052: Number of home foreclosures in county since 2005

Sources: Columbia County's Tax Assessors office, Clerk of Court office

Comments (19) Add comment
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WhiskyDick
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WhiskyDick 09/04/07 - 03:00 am
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The opening sentence of this

The opening sentence of this article is laughable. The CSRA has some of the lowest housing costs in the nation. From the US Census Bureau, "The median sales price of new houses sold in July 2007 was $239,500; the average sales price was $300,800." Another case of no news is good news for the Augusta Chronicle.

WISE-OLE-OWL
1
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WISE-OLE-OWL 09/04/07 - 05:09 am
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The opening sentence did not

The opening sentence did not mention the CSRA. It was referring to Columbia County.

When did the Census Bureau release July '07 figures? They are usually months or years behind in compiling this type of data.

TENTBOYZ
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TENTBOYZ 09/04/07 - 05:47 am
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This goes to show you how

This goes to show you how screwed up people are. People live in apartments because that cann't afford a house in Columbia County or their credit isn't good enough yet to buy house. Build more apartments and slow down building houses. Bring more jobs to Columbia County so that people can afford to buy a house.

struggling parent
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struggling parent 09/04/07 - 06:00 am
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I agree with Tentboyz, we

I agree with Tentboyz, we need more affordable apartments in Columbia County. I had to move back to Richmond Cty(W. Augusta is better) due to having a pet dog(chihuahua and child) because I did not want to give up my washer/dryer to stay in area that I wanted to live due to my child attending and it would cost over 100 dollars to wash and dry clothes. Most apartments cost too much or don't allow pets. I am hearing impaired and rely on my pet to notify me to someone at the door. We already have enough affluent apt. and the income-rent based apt are laughable since it is not reasonable since it would have taken over half of my income to live there which was not acceptable for me to be able to provide for my child. And I do not get assistance so I am proud of my independence.

trujustis
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trujustis 09/04/07 - 07:02 am
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A $200,000 house would cost

A $200,000 house would cost around $1500 per month with taxes and insurance. How much would the rent on an "upscale apartment" be?

LaTwon
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LaTwon 09/04/07 - 07:57 am
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so one out of every 35 houses

so one out of every 35 houses has been forclosed on since 2005. you aint seen nothin yet............... the empire of debt shall crumble!

Queen4842
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Queen4842 09/04/07 - 08:23 am
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If you can not afford to live

If you can not afford to live in Columbia County then you should not live there. It is that simple. No where does it state that any area in this country should make sure there is housing for everyone. I personally would be adversely effected by these apartments and I am GLAD they were told NO!!!!!!!!! I will also work to make sure they are never allowed that close to my house, which I paid for and could afford due to hard work. THANKS!!!!!

whatsupwiththat
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whatsupwiththat 09/04/07 - 08:35 am
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What a mindset. Some people

What a mindset. Some people actually think they should be able to live wherever they want whether they can afford to or not? Gee; I'll take a house in the Hamptons next to James Taylor. One contributor to the deterioration of Richmond County is growth of apartments and other rental properties where the tenants wreck the properties (and the neighborhoods) and the property owners do nothing about it. The post by susie states she had to move back to Richmond County to retain lodging for her dog, which she didn't want to do because her child was attending school in the Columbia County. While I am not unsympathetic regarding her plight, a free education is a free education whether the property owners of Columbia County or Richmond County provide it AT NO COST TO YOU.

greenhulk1980
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greenhulk1980 09/04/07 - 09:00 am
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apartments are for poor

apartments are for poor people....I hate poor people.

420Time
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420Time 09/04/07 - 09:03 am
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Try living in Boca Raton, Fl

Try living in Boca Raton, Fl where an average home will cost you 300k or more- The same house in the Augusta area would be 100k or less.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 09/04/07 - 09:37 am
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"greenhulk1980" I find your

"greenhulk1980" I find your comment very rude!! Apartments are NOT for poor people....Lord forbid that you would ever have to resort to living in an apartment.

rvfmcalw08
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rvfmcalw08 09/04/07 - 11:04 am
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greenhult1980 you are an evil

greenhult1980 you are an evil person. Who gives you the right to judge others. I bet you live in a hugh house by yourself because no one could live with such a beast. Just remember when you leave this world you can not take your money with you. As for us poor folk, at least we know we are leaving God loving children behind and who have been taught to love everyone regardless or race, color, ethic or money status. May you wake up before you face your maker.

Pepper
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Pepper 09/04/07 - 11:08 am
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"greenhulk1980" I think

"greenhulk1980" I think you're an idiot. Some apartments renters are people that are undecided about purchasing a home in this area. Have you noticed this is a military community with a high transition rate. Think about what you say before you make uneducated comments.

whoami_abcd
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whoami_abcd 09/04/07 - 11:17 am
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I think that Greenhulk was

I think that Greenhulk was making an attempt at sarcasm in bad taste. He was simplifying his opinion of what some people's real objection might be to apratments in columbia County.

Former Augustan
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Former Augustan 09/04/07 - 11:54 am
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I live in Los Angeles where

I live in Los Angeles where the average home price is over $500,000, and the average condo is almost $400,000. For $165,000, you might find a small vacant lot somewhere, but nothing on it. Even a run-down 2-BR "fixer" in a low cost neighborhood would cost over $300,000. The low cost of housing is the only thing the CSRA has going for it -- Instead of concentrating on a loser idea like a canal down Ellis Street, Augusta should be advertising to seniors who are looking for a cheap place to live in retirement. Augusta will never be a major tourist destination, except for Master's Week. When people ask me where I come from, and I tell them Augusta, almost invariably they mention the Master's -- nothing else.

law
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law 09/04/07 - 02:38 pm
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I think if you can't afford

I think if you can't afford to live in Columbia County then don't live there however, I don't think it would be a bad idea to have another upscale apartment complex in Columbia County. I say as long as it is not a section 8 place, then I don't see any harm in doing that.

class1
300
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class1 09/04/07 - 04:46 pm
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I would love to live on off

I would love to live on off Walton Way in one of those million dollar homes, however I can't afford it. Well, are they going to build apartments there for me to live?

Armywife
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Armywife 09/04/07 - 04:55 pm
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Did it ever occur to anyone

Did it ever occur to anyone that not everyone wants to own a house? That they prefer apartments particularly nice, upscale apartments? Not everyone wants to take care of a lawn or have a 15 or 30 year mortgage hanging around our necks. Not everyone who lives in apartments is poor. Some of us do make a very good living.

law
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law 09/04/07 - 06:38 pm
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I agree alot of people are

I agree alot of people are wealthy and want to live in an apartment, I don't see a problem with building a nice apartment complex whereever they choose as long as it's not section 8

There's already alot of apartments around walton way, personally I would rather live in Columbia County only because of the school systems, pretty soon wether Columbia County wants to realize it or not, the schools out there will turn just as bad as Richmond County, it may not be today. tommorow but a few years it will happen

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