High quality of life, low cost of living make Georgia's Robins Region a relocation destination.
The Robins Region has gone from being in the middle of nowhere to seemingly being at the center of everything.
For many decades, the Robins Region primarily was known for two things: as the home of what is now called the Robins Air Force Base and for the vast surrounding farmland that produced a profusion of peanuts and peaches.
But the combination of a centralized location – about an hour to Atlanta, 2.5 hours to Savannah and 3.5 hours to the beaches of St. Simons Island – and an appealing quality of life has transformed the Robins Region. Over the past 20 years, the population of Houston County – which includes the cities of Warner Robins, Perry and Centerville – has increased by more than 40%.
“We’ve been having a huge surge of new home construction,” says Tony Wagoner, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Free Realty. “There are areas that used to be considered rural that are now the site of new neighborhoods with custom-built homes.”
Propelling that growth are an abundance of career opportunities, sparked by the proximity to Interstate 75, leading north to Atlanta and south to Florida, and I-16, which heads east to Savannah and its deep-water port. These are two of the major interstate routes in the Southeast for commerce transportation. As a result, such companies as Amazon, John Deere and Tyson Foods have expanded into the region.
“We’ve become a corridor for a lot of industries up and down I-75 and from Savannah (along I-16), which is one of the largest ports on the Eastern Seaboard,” Wagoner says. “So we have a plethora of new businesses opening up all around here.”
Rural Surroundings a Big Draw
But the region maintains enough rural qualities to appeal to people who prefer not to live in a big city. The lack of heavy traffic makes it easier to get around and provides shorter commute times to work.
There also are numerous outdoor recreation options in the area, from biking on the Wellston Trail to fishing at Walker’s Pond. In addition, the 15,000-acre Ocmulgee Wildlife Management Area is less than a half-hour drive away, with opportunities for boating, hunting and even archery.
Home Affordable Home
Perhaps the biggest appeal of the Robins Region is the low cost of living, particularly when it comes to housing. The median home price in Houston County, which includes Warner Robins, is $163,000, about half of Atlanta’s median home price and well below that of Georgia’s.
In 2021, the insurance comparison shopping website Insurify named Warner Robins as the best city in Georgia for new homebuyers.
Researchers based the ranking by factoring in real estate demand, employment levels, public school enrollment, and driver and pedestrian safety.
All these factors have made the Robins Region attractive to both young professionals looking for their first home as well as the area’s large retirement population.
It helps that there are a variety of living options throughout the region. City dwellers will appreciate the energy and vibe of Warner Robins’ neighborhoods, families will find quiet comfort in the growing suburban communities and lovers of the countryside still have plenty of choices only a short drive away.
“There’s housing ranging from the $100,000s to the $400,000s. So, we have a house that fits every category, whether it’s a starter home or for somebody who is moving up,” Wagoner says. “The housing market has always been relatively stable here because of the base. But now we have a lot of new career growth in the area, which is bringing in new jobs and new homeowners.”
So Much to Discover in the Robins Region
These newcomers to the Robins Region are discovering a community that provides plenty of walkable areas and business districts with charming local stores, such as the Breezy Rain Boutique, the Vine Boutique, and the Southern Crush Boutique. There also are a variety of restaurants, including PROPS Steak and Seafood, the Metropolis Grill (Greek, Mediterranean and Indian cuisine), The Swanson, which offers Southern food in a historic home in downtown Perry, and Kin.D 96, where residents can find Thai and sushi dishes.
“This is an expanding community, both in population and geographically,” Wagoner says. “We’re starting to spread out into the county a little more. Rural is turning into neighborhoods. There’s just a very rapid rate of growth, because more and more people want to live here.”