Capitol View 

South Atlanta district boasts affordable homes within city limits

Driving along the streets of Capitol View, resident Will Mathis ponders the influx of new residents that have been calling the neighborhood home over the past few years because he's responsible for many of them relocating here.

"There are an amazing amount of wonderful people in this neighborhood," says Mathis, who is a realtor for the area. "I currently own five homes in the community, and I believe in it. I know it's going to be an even better place in a few years."

Mathis is a self-proclaimed "Capitol View specialist," who has made the streets of this run-down neighborhood attractive to singles and couples looking for a residence within the city limits. The homes are an investment for people who want to live close to downtown and can't afford the pricier gentrified neighborhoods farther north.

That's true for one of the stops he makes on his drive. Rebecca Hose-Capps and her husband, Chris Capps, returned to Capitol View after briefly moving away.

"When we returned to the city, there was no question, this was where we were going to live," says Hose-Capps.

The couple, like many new homeowners, are living in a work-in-progress. Plaster is being repainted, fireplaces are being repaired and their recently removed dishwasher is sitting in the middle of the kitchen. Hose-Capps knows many people feel negatively about the phenomenon of gentrification, but she doesn't think it's harming this community.

"I am in a position to renovate this home, and that's a positive thing for the neighborhood," she says. "We're not moving people out who don't want to go. There are some additional stresses because of the new residents, but this is a diverse group of people and the community is getting stronger."

Hose-Capps has shown courage by reclaiming her home. She threw away the security bars that were on the windows and doors and immediately disconnected the security system. "I've lived in Atlanta all my life. There's little that scares me anymore," she says.

Maybe because of the positive attitude of residents like Hose-Capps, the neighborhood's appeal does seem to be slowly improving. Some homes still have peeling paint, a few streets are cluttered with debris and trash, and knee-high weeds border the road. But looking a few houses down, there are manicured lawns with flowers and decorated front porches.

This renewal also has caused inflated home prices. Mathis has seen units that were selling in the $60,000 range now going for more than twice that much.

"It's not as easy to find a deal in this neighborhood as it once was," he says.

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