ATLANTA-DeKalb County’s housing profile is changing rapidly as taller, higher-density townhouse and condominium projects, which require less land, overtake construction of new single-family residences. This is according to the county property appraiser’s office. New single-family construction dropped last year to 3,735 homes from an average of 5,000 residences built annually since the late 1990s. Only about 3,000 homes are expected to be built this year.

Multifamily developers are vying with single-family homebuilders for choice lots in almost every part of the metro area, from Kirkwood, Edgewood, East Lake and East Atlanta to suburban Dunwoody, Brookhaven, Emory, Doraville, Chamblee, Tucker, Stone Mountain and Pine Lake.

The overall median sales price increased by 11% to $198,000 in 2004 from $176,220 in 2003, according to the property appraiser’s office. In Decatur, the median price is up by 6% to $270,000.

The county estimates that 57% of all shelter product surfacing this year will be in townhouse and condominium units. Townhome and condo construction last year made up only 31% of all new housing starts in the metro area.

The county clearly buys into the new housing profile in that officials are approving a mix of zoning changes, pedestrian-oriented ordinances and tax incentives designed to encourage the development of medium and high-rise residential projects that offer street-level retail within walking distance of restaurants and public transit, county staffers confirm for

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