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The Real Housewives' Effect on Atlanta's Real Estate Market

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There are a lot of very few similarities between the Real Housewives of Atlanta and the rest of us who call this city home. While many of the housewives don't even live in Atlanta proper, like the majority of "Atlantans," they do provide rousing entertainment and infinite pride to the city by slapping each other around, wearing Barbie wigs, living in giant mansions and releasing bumpin' singles. The show (which has made reality TV stars of NeNe Leakes, Kim Zolciak and others) is the third installment of the Real Housewives series, and its most popular. Season seven of the show just premiered last month to its highest ratings ever — more than 3.8 million viewers. Is the show so beloved, in fact, that it influences the popularity of Atlanta and its real estate market?

With millions of viewers tuning in for the culture and drama, the data crunchers at national real estate brokerage Agent Ace decided to investigate the correlation of Atlanta buying trends and the popularity of those everyday women. The California-based startup, which uses an algorithm and unique search criteria to match home buyers and sellers with top performing agents, has analyzed Atlanta's MLS real estate trends alongside the show's ratings trends — to some pretty interesting results.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta premiered in 2008, but made a huge splash the following year with nearly two million viewers, ages 18 to 49. Each year since, the price of homes in neighborhoods Cascade Heights and Alpharetta, where stars like Kandi Burruss and Kim Zolciak live, rose and fell with the popularity of the show. The graph below shows the percentage change year-to-year, in ratings and average home prices, respectively. From 2010 - 2013 when ratings went up, home prices did as well. The year ratings fell dramatically in 2011, so too did the real housewives' neighborhood housing prices.

The show's ratings showed strong correlations to greater Atlanta metro area home prices, as well. From 2010 to 2012, the percentage change in ratings and average home prices were practically in lock step with one another. In 2010 ratings went up only slightly from the previous year, just 0.47 percent (which is coincidentally the same amount of Kim's hair that is actually real). Similarly, Atlanta home prices remained stagnant from the previous year, changing a whopping zero percent. In 2011 the show's ratings dipped 5.68 percent. That same year, average home prices for the Atlanta metro area also dipped a very close 7 percent to $141,640. In 2012, while ratings rose 0.45 percent, home prices saw 4 percent growth.

With this year's premiere episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta topping out at an all-time high, you can expect to see some bitch slapping in Atlanta's 2015 real estate market as well.

Marni Epstein