- Housing affordability is a tricky issue to define because so much of it depends on a host of factors not necessarily related to housing.
- One of the reasons metro Atlanta attracted more than one million new residents last decade was the region’s overall affordability. Metro Atlanta is a low cost-of-living place and home prices reflect this. Numerous studies have shown that when transportation costs are added in, metro Atlanta becomes one of the LEAST affordable large metros for moderate-income families. And lack of affordability is a key issue near job centers.
- Metro Atlanta’s median sale price of $167,500 in 2014 (Q3) is among the lowest among the largest metros. Among the largest 25 metros, only St. Louis and Tampa have lower median sales prices than metro Atlanta.
- When transportation costs are added to the costs of housing, however, metro Atlanta is one of the least affordable places for “moderate-income” households. These households in metro Atlanta spend 63 percent of their income on transportation and housing costs. (Moderate-income is defined as those making between 50 and 99 percent of the Area Median Income).
- There is an overall lack of affordable housing options located near the region’s largest employment centers, which exacerbates transportation costs for many lower-income workers, because they cannot afford to live near their jobs.
- Renters have a particularly hard time finding affordable options. The average-priced 2 BR apartment consumes more than 60 percent of the average renter’s income, NOT factoring in transportation costs.
In July 2014, we looked at home prices in metro Atlanta and found that while the area had made improvements, it has not completely recovered from the Great Recession. Two years later, we wanted to revisit the topic to see how our housing market is