Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A bit of Atlanta economics in numbers

In "NY hedge fund partner trying to convert Atlanta ‘red' land into green space |" Michael Messner, a 1976 Georgia Tech civil engineering graduate, says:

Over the past 10 years, government policies pushed vast over-investment in useless, unproductive commercial and residential development. Total real estate values reached $45 trillion, then fell by $15 trillion; the whole U.S. stock market is worth $14 trillion.

Atlanta’s retail vacancy rate is 13 percent, one of the highest in the nation. The Atlanta region has vacant office space equivalent to 24 empty Bank of America towers, the largest office building in the Southeast. Over 30 percent of homes with mortgages were in negative equity at the end of 2009, leading to one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country.

Because of this, Georgia leads the nation in bank failures. The city has lost over 30,000 construction jobs in the last three years. Atlanta has vacant lots selling for 25 cents on the dollar. Commercial real estate transactions are down 90 percent from 2006, so there is no liquidity in the market.

And Atlanta is park-poor. Less than 5 percent of its area is parkland; it is among the lowest metros in green space per resident.

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