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Martinez named 11th 'Most Affordable Growing Community' in US

Martinez ranking

Martinez is the 11th most affordable city nationwide, meaning residents are getting more bang for their buck. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 22, 2011)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Aug. 22, 2011

MARTINEZ, Ga. -- In a struggling economy, it's news you want to hear. CNN-Money.com rated Martinez in the top 25 Most Affordable Growing Communities in the U.S.

These experts looked at cities that were adding jobs and selling homes and say Martinez is the 11th most affordable, meaning residents are getting more bang for their buck.

Connie Luna moved to the Martinez-area because she and her family could afford it.

"That was the draw to this home, it really was," Luna said. "You'd like to raise up your kids and be able to get them through college and have things that you need."

Coming from Pennsylvania, Luna says her dollar just didn't stretch as far there.

"A lot of people that are retired move here because they can afford it," she said.

Marj Brosseau, a real estate sales associate with Weichert Real Estate/Cornerstone, sells homes for a living and the news didn't surprise her.

"We've seen them find homes that they say are better, bigger, nicer, newer than what they would be able to have," Brosseau said. "Their dollars are just going further in the housing market."

The website collected data from Columbia County records and only considered cities experiencing job, housing and population growth. They list the median home price at $130,599 and the median income at $79,244.

"We compare the cost of homes, groceries, gas -- all those things that are necessary for living -- we compare them with place across the country and we really really have it quite nice here," Brosseau said.

With plenty of homes for sale, Brosseau hopes the article turns some heads and some steering wheels toward Martinez.

"Retirement, people starting out, making career changes, just looking for a fresh start ... this is a great place," she said.

And Brosseau would know. She moved from California, all the way across the country, to live in Martinez, Ga.

"Mountain biking trails, kayaking, sailing; it's got everything we need, entertainment, good schools," she said. "So, we're very happy here. This is it, this is our last stop."

Brosseau said the housing market in the area has not been affected as bad as other cities. She said the strong medical community, which is mentioned in the article, is one major reason why. Another reason is Fort Gordon.

While that list may put Martinez on the map, last week commissioners approved an application to make a small part of Martinez an "Opportunity Zone." They hope to revitalize the area around Washington Road and Bobby Jones.

If the state grants the application, new and current businesses could receive tax credits of $3,500 for every job they bring in. The latest census shows 11 percent of homeowners and renters in that part of town are living below the poverty line.

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