Talk of the Town - Sylvan hills March 14 2001

Homes in south Atlanta neighborhood are priced for first-time buyers

With its cozy brick bungalows and big porches, south Atlanta's Sylvan Hills neighborhood gains comparisons to a trendy area to the north, Virginia-Highland. But there is one big difference in the neighborhoods — price.

The 50- to 75-year-old homes in Sylvan Hills remain in good condition, making the neighborhood desirable for first-time homebuyers looking for a bargain. Just a few years ago, homes in the area sold for less than $100,000. As more buyers flocked to the intown neighborhood, prices increased to $120,000 to $150,000, according to realtors.

Real estate agent Jim Camp moved to Sylvan Hills in July 1999 from East Atlanta, anticipating that the neighborhood was about to go through a resurgence.

"At the time I moved over there, it was because the prices were so low," Camp says. "I saw it as an up-and-coming area."

Sylvan Hills is tucked between Sylvan Road on the east and Murphy Street on the west. The neighborhood extends from Lakewood Freeway north to Deckner Avenue. The neighborhood is nearly indistinguishable from the nearby Capitol View, where many home renovations are under way.

"Sylvan Hills didn't get run down like Capitol View," says Martha McCall, an agent with W.T. Adams & Co. Realtors.

While Sylvan Hills has been touted as one of the last low-priced neighborhoods within the perimeter, that's likely to change. McCall's company has new listings in the area for $150,000 and $169,000.

"Prices have already gone up some, but are still not out of reach to the average first-time home buyer," says Camp, who also works for W.T. Adams & Co.

Camp enjoys running in Sylvan Hills, which has wider streets and less traffic than his old neighborhood. Because of the wider streets and a strong neighborhood association, residents enjoy a sense of community rare among city dwellers.

Nearby Perkerson Park gives residents a place to play. The wooded 50-acre park includes an amphitheater, sports facilities and a big wheel course.

Camp enjoys a quick 10-minute drive to downtown. Although the neighborhood is near Lakewood Freeway, U.S. Highway 29, I-85 and I-75, he avoids traffic by driving on surface streets.??

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