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Study: Apartments are Atlanta Economy's New Best Friend

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Two years ago, when it became clear that a genuine apartment boom was afoot across the city, we wondered aloud in a headline: "Will Atlanta Drown in Wave of New Apartments?" Back then, with roughly 20 projects planned, under construction or recently opened from Buckhead to East Atlanta Village, prognosticators feared that apartments would follow the glut-to-bust route taken by Atlanta's mid-aught condo boom. That was the very tip of the new-apartment iceberg, and yet rents continue to rise. So the answer to the headline's question, according to market indicators and one new study, is a resounding "no!" Research compiled by economist Stephen S. Fuller, of George Mason University's Center for Regional Analysis, suggests the local apartment explosion has been a boon to Atlanta's economy, contributing more than $15 billion — that includes construction, operations and resident spending — in 2013 alone. An ancillary benefit, to paraphrase one official, is that apartments have helped droves of millennials rediscover Atlanta's urban core.

The National Apartment Association found that apartment construction permits in Atlanta have more than tripled in the last five years — from 97,000 construction starts in Recession-plagued 2009 (the lowest point since records began in 1964, ouch!) to 294,000 in 2013, the most recent year for which stats are available.

In 2013, the strong apartment-industry sector supported nearly 158,000 jobs in Atlanta, the study found. Apartment construction and operations alone contributed $1.4 billion in personal earnings for local workers. And renters spent nearly $11 billion in the local economy, which would have bought five Atlanta Falcons stadiums.

Tim Schrager, 2015 Chairman of the Atlanta Apartment Association, said the city's apartment occupancy is at a post-Recession high right now, bolstered by job growth.

"An expansion of mid-to high-paying jobs around Atlanta's downtown, Midtown, Buckhead and northern suburban areas means that apartment construction activity in these neighborhoods is increasing accordingly," Schrager said in a press release. "The rental boon — both locally and nationally — has been fueled by demographic changes like the growing millennial population and a rediscovery of metropolitan urban cores."

· The findings [WeAreApartments.org]
· Are Millennials Sorta Responsible for Skyline Monotony? [Curbed Atlanta]
· Will Atlanta Drown in Wave of New Apartments? [Curbed]