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Posted: October 16, 2012 5:40 p.m.

Building a future again

The Newton County Home Builders Association hosted a special presentation last week that was designed to infuse hope back into a beleaguered building community and get local officials excited about the future.

Frank Norton Jr., president of The Norton Agency, is considered a Georgia real estate guru and he spent three months studying Newton County's housing market. His conclusion was that we've hit rock bottom, but things really aren't that bad and they should only get better.

Overall, Norton's message was very positive. Foreclosures are down, home sales are up and Newton County is set to grow again if people are willing to financially invest in its future by buying land or homes.

He said the county is running pretty low on new housing and there might soon be a need for more, particularly quality, new housing. The county has more used housing available but even that is getting somewhat low.

However, there are still thousands and thousands of ready-to-be-built-on vacant lots. Many of these are in what feels like an already-glutted western portion of the county, but if the housing stock truly is getting low, maybe there's a chance for us to start working through at least some of those ugly pipe farms.

We, and Norton, realize it's going to at least a few years before that starts to happen on any sort of even medium scale, but at least building conditions are beginning to ripen.

We agree that it's time for those who truly believe in Newton County to invest in Newton County. The future is bright, but we some courageous entrepreneurs to help guide the county to it.

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