You’re not imagining it: Home ownership has become “unaffordable” in Atlanta

ATLANTA — Owning a home in metro Atlanta has become “unaffordable” for the first time in at least a decade, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank.

The Atlanta Fed created an interactive home affordability tool, HOAM (or Home Ownership Affordability Monitor), which measures the ability of a median-income household to absorb the estimated annual costs associated with owning a median-priced home.

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The tool is based on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s standard for affordability, which is that homeowners should not pay more than 30% of their pre-tax income on housing costs. Paying anything more is considered unaffordable.

The HOAM index monitors affordability on a 100-point scale, with any rating below 100 considered “unaffordable.”


In January, the HOAM index for metro Atlanta was 97.4, the first time the index dropped prices to “unaffordable” since it was created in 2014.

In January, the median price of a home in metro Atlanta climbed to $350,733. The median income is $73,463, which means potential buyers would be paying 30.8% of their pre-tax income on housing.

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Areas of metro Atlanta that are considered unaffordable, according to the HOAM index, are Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Newton and Dawson counties. DeKalb County had the lowest score at 86.5, with homeowners paying nearly 35% on housing costs.

Five years ago, in 2017, homebuyers could expect to pay around 25% on housing costs.