ATLANTA, Ga. — More than 6.1 million people live in Atlanta. As more people continue to move to the city, rental costs are staying high due to a lack of inventory. Despite the progress made post-pandemic to address housing insecurity, ongoing inflation has put a dent in affordability.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent Consumer Price Index pegged housing costs as the number one driver of inflation across the U.S. Even as prices have leveled out, Atlanta’s rental market remains strained, with costs increasing month-over-month.
According to ApartmentList, a real estate company, Atlanta’s rental prices went up 0.4% in the past month. Compared to 2022 though, they’re still 1.6% lower. The rest of Georgia saw rental price increases of 0.7% year-over-year, according to the company.
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For renters looking to find a new home in the city of Atlanta, prices are high. The median cost to rent an apartment in the city is $1,512. In the wider metro area, prices range as low as $1,223 in Canton to as high as $1,823 in Johns Creek.
“The median rent in Atlanta is 12.4% higher than the national,” according to ApartmentList’s rent report.
For those looking to live outside of Atlanta proper and instead in the suburbs around the area, rental costs for the average renter are $1,536, putting rent in the city lower than the surrounding neighborhoods. Either way, the costs in the area put Atlanta firmly in the top 50 most expensive large cities in America, holding a rank of No. 40, according to ApartmentList.
Comparably, its rank among large cities for rental price growth was also in the top 50, though a bit lower at No. 47.
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In the larger Atlanta metro area, renters in Cumming have the most affordable costs for now, while Johns Creek is the most expensive.
When it comes to rent growth, Clarkston residents are seeing the fastest price increases year-over-year, while Cumming again tops the affordability ranks with the slowest price growth in the area.
For affordability, part of the issue is a lack of available inventory. The Federal Reserve reports the active inventory in the Atlanta metro area in March 2023 was 13,278. Pre-pandemic, inventory levels were 21,532. Over the course of 2020 to 2022, inventory sank to its current level.
With prices elevated, more of the Atlanta population is cost-burdened, or spending more than 30% of their income on housing and rent each month.
For those who may need assistance to afford housing, qualifications and funding amounts are allocated based on the Fair Market Rent, set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The FMR reported for the Atlanta area is currently $1,375 for a one-bedroom, while the median rent reported by ApartmentList was $1,512.
The rent fluctuations are moving faster than the FMR is updated, putting even the social safety net programs used by HUD and partnered organizations a step behind.
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