Madison, Georgia is one of the finest small towns in the South. With a commitment to historic preservation, arts and culture, and an award-winning public charter school system - it's no surprise that Madison shows up regularly on "best of" lists.
We just hosted 750+ visitors with the Georgia Trust Fall Ramble, a chance to see some of our finest private homes and enjoy chef-prepared dinners.
But is it an affordable place to live?
That depends on your perspective and your budget!
I've recently been appointed to a new Housing Committee whose mission is to learn more about factors that are driving up local housing costs, and to recommend policy choices that can set the stage for our future.
Since 2019, the median price of homes sold in Morgan County has risen from $282,500 to $468,000. That's a whopping 67% change over 5 years - well ahead of wage growth and inflation.
In 2019, the interest rate for a 30-year mortgage averaged 3.9%. Today rates are hovering close to 8%. Here's how that translates to a monthly payment for the buyer who put 20% down on a median priced home:
2019 - $1,066
2023 - $2,747
In my view, Morgan County is in danger of losing one of the things we value most - a community with housing for people at all stages of life and a broad range of incomes.
It matters when young couples can find homes to raise a family, and the grandparents can be there to attend school programs and games. It matters when we see one another in grocery stores, and serve on committees together, and go to church together.
Simply put - the people who serve our community as teachers, deputies, and health care workers, and the people who are the most valuable assets of our bevy of small businesses should have a place to live in our community.
Our history tells us that has nearly always been so. But in the last 5-10 years we have been drifting away from that tradition.
Our mission is not a simple one. Many factors contribute to rising housing costs. We will need investments in infrastructure. And we will need to build consensus around the notion that economically diverse communities are healthy and happy communities.
I'm glad the dialogue has begun, and delighted to have a seat at the table.