Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Georgia Military Communities Provide Real Estate Opportunities

"This post comes to you from James Kelley of VA Benefit Blog. A law school student at the University of Missouri, James Kelley works to educate the public on government financing options for home purchases. He is a co-founder of Military Basebook, a facebook application that helps connect military members based on where and when they served."

There’s a fast-growing city in Georgia, and a USA Today study suggests that it’s booming because of a nearby military base. Columbus, Ga. experienced a per capita income increase of 27 percent from 2000 to 2009. But Columbus is one of several areas that encompasses or is near a military base and experienced such growth.

 The USA Today found that 16 of the 20 fastest growing metro areas—measured in terms of per capita income since 2000—included military bases or are near one. Cities like Valdosta, GA which is about 15 minutes from Moody Air Force Base, offer real estate agents and mortgage brokers major opportunities to help members of the U.S. Armed Forces find a home.
 Increased pay and benefits for military personnel caused these military-connected cities to experience the income and housing booms. In 2000 the average pay for a service member was $55,545. That average more than doubled to $122,263 in 2009. Adjusted for inflation, that’s an 84-percent jump.
 It isn’t just the income spike that contributes to levels of homeownership among military members higher than civilians’. The federal government extended deadlines for eligible service members to capitalize on first-time and repeat homebuyer tax credits. Those who are eligible have until April 30, 2011 to buy a house. By June 30, 2011 they have to close the deal.
 Also, the VA Home Loan & USDA Loan Programs make it easier for veterans and active-duty members to buy the home of their dreams. Dozens of financial benefits and more lenient qualifying terms have helped tens of millions of service members become homeowners. With more service members likely to return home in coming months, more booms are expected in military-connected towns.

For real estate agents, areas like Valdosta provide a well-paid, family-oriented demographic that can afford to settle down. Likewise, investors have chances to develop housing communities near military bases or temporary housing around the city. Targeting these developing can create win-win-win situations for buyers, sellers and investors.