Friday, May 21, 2010


Homeowners, Homebuyers, Local Businesses, Construction, Real Estate Markets to be Biggest Winners with Projected $1 Billion Impact

Duluth, GA- Leaders from Georgia's second largest county aren't waiting around for the economy to recover. On the heels of a string of recent economic development successes and announcements, Gwinnett County's public and private sector leaders today launched "Let's Do Business Gwinnett," an unprecedented economic stimulus plan for Gwinnett County designed to assist homeowners, small businesses, and the construction and real estate industries by stabilizing housing prices and stimulating local consumer, business and public sector spending. If successful, Gwinnett County could benefit from a potential economic impact of more than $1 billion to the local economy over the next five years.

At a press conference held in a half vacant new residential development all too familiar in communities across the nation, leaders from the Gwinnett Chamber, the Gwinnett Housing Authority, Gwinnett County and City Governments, Gwinnett County Public Schools and The Impact! Group described the stimulus plan as an unprecedented effort being undertaken by the public and private sectors in Gwinnett County to stabilize housing prices and stimulate consumer, business and public sector spending.

The initiative is focused on two key elements:

Increased Spending on Residential Property and Vacant Lots in Gwinnett

Gwinnett County government, banks, mortgage companies, the Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia, the Impact! Group, and the Gwinnett Housing Authority have collaborated on a package that essentially "continues" a similar version of the federal homebuyer tax incentives that expired April 30 for homes and lots purchased in Gwinnett County. They include:

  • Approximately $5,000 down payment incentive for new constructed homes priced up to $205,000.
  • Through a coalition of Gwinnett banks (The Brand Banking Co., Independence Bank of GA, Legacy State Bank, Piedmont Bancorp, Gwinnett Community Bank, Quantum Bank), special financing and products are being offered that homebuyer's can't get anywhere else in the market. The program is also open to other banks' participation. These products include:

    • 6.49% financing, on select homes, for borrowers needing time to improve credit.
    • Special low-interest loans for select houses as low as 3.49% for homes purchased in Gwinnett.
  • Encouraging local governments to spur rapid absorption of existing inventory of empty, existing residential lots.

Leaders believe the short and long-term result will be an increased demand for Gwinnett properties resulting in a reduction of empty lots, distressed properties, and available homes with limited buyers. The move should also stabilize lot and home values; increase consumer spending and jobs for the residential home industry (construction, sales, financing); increase home values; and lower taxes through increased tax digest for city, county, and school services.

"Three years ago anyone who wanted to buy a house could do so, but today there are people who would like to own and can afford a home but cannot get qualified because of the tight credit markets," says 2010 Gwinnett Chamber Chairman and The Brand Banking Company CEO Bartow Morgan. "We have too much of a supply of residential lots in Gwinnett County and until the supply is gone all home prices will remain depressed. Our ultimate goal through these residential stimulus measures is to help stabilize and increase house values for all homeowners."

Increased Private and Public Sector Spending in Gwinnett

The second component of the plan is a campaign in response to the estimated $20 million in daily business that is being lost to companies outside of Gwinnett specifically, but also Metro Atlanta. The campaign exists to encourage all Gwinnett businesses and local governments to consider buying from Gwinnett businesses before buying outside the county and region. Under the new program, participating companies can go to and pledge to examine their books and work to shift a portion of their out-of-Gwinnett spending back to Gwinnett.

According to similar programs in comparable counties/regions, if the "Let's Do Business Gwinnett" program can achieve a five percent shift in purchasing, that could mean as much as approximately $1 million each day or $365 million each year that will impact Gwinnett County's economy. As this money moves through the community it 'multiplies' and would also result in significant job growth.

"The impact—at only five percent—would be overwhelming and enrich our tax base while improving public services, streets, schools, parks and playgrounds, expanding business, attracting businesses, and creating jobs," says Gwinnett Chamber President & CEO Jim Maran. "We hope to improve the bottom line for Gwinnett's businesses by encouraging local businesses and governments to take a look at their purchasing habits and seek out-of-area purchases they could potentially bring back into the local area. Doing so makes our community and region a better place to live by creating a stronger economy for our businesses."

"When communities and neighbors work together for the common good, everybody wins – local businesses, employees, citizens and County government. I encourage all Gwinnett citizens to make a conscious effort to do business locally," says Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charles Bannister.

The long-term overall impact could be significant and far-reaching. Leaders say if all of the predicted benefits are realized, Gwinnett County could potentially see more than $1 billion in economic impact and significant job growth created over the next five years through these actions.

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