Atlanta is blessed and cursed.
We are cursed with some of the worst traffic of any metro city - our sprawl is the cause of well documented commuting strife, but depending on where you live and how you manage your time, Atlanta's Intown neighborhoods and surrounding smaller cities in and around the perimeter offer fantastic options for a couple like yourselves.
We are blessed with tree lined streets, parks and retail amenities galore. We are blessed with excellent affordability; compared to many metro cities, our median prices in almost every submarket are very approachable and there is something for everyone, almost everywhere.(I'm not talking about submarkets like the Trump Tower!)
Nevertheless, condos, lofts and townhomes have been flat or down for nearly a decade - if you bought a condo, loft or townhome 8-10 years ago, it is more than likely worth about as much as you paid for it 8-10 years ago. Steve Palm with Smart Numbers, one of our local real estate forecasters, can prove that time and time again with his charts and graphs. New or newer built condos, lofts and townhomes are in voluminous supply, and the velocity in this overall market is moving like sludge.
Single family houses are offered at all price points, and many architectural styles are available. Statistics show that our single family home market has shown steady long term appreciation year after year. 2007 has been a tough year for Sellers, but a savvy Buyer with an astute agent can certainly take advantage of that, and expect good long term results from a smart purchase. Steve Palm has some very encouraging charts that show the realtive health of our single family home market. A great agent can help you understand micro trends in specific submarkets.
Good luck, and is there any chance that you are coming here to help us fix our water problem?