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For ATL millennials, affordable housing struggle is still real

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New study: 1 in 3 American millennials has put off homeownership entirely

It’s hard out there for a millennial.

Study after study has shown that Atlanta holds appeal as a destination for millennials (roughly speaking, anyone born between 1980 and the early 2000s). The logic usually goes that Atlanta is a burgeoning urban promised land where relative affordability still trumps extreme density and extensive transit options. Atlanta’s good pizza and pretty people don’t hurt, either.

Yet when it comes to actually owning a slice of the Big Peach pie — or saving in the face of escalating rent costs — affordability presents a problem.

Earlier this year, Apartment List found that 68 percent of Atlanta millennials just flat out can’t afford to buy a place, in their eyes. A Zillow analysis suggested one millennial in five still lives with their parents.

Now, a report by not-for-profit real estate corporation NHP relays some rather grim stats for millennials in Atlanta and beyond, as the Saporta Report notes this week. We’re rounded up the most confounding/intriguing/depressing stats in the bullet points below:

  • The median income in metro Atlanta is $38,200 a year. Yet average IT salaries — a field rife with millennials — is more than $82,000, per CBRE data, the Saporta Report relays.
  • Millennials, on average, pay more than $4,200 annually in student loan debt. That’s a not-insignifcant $350 per month.
  • The NHP survey, which polled more than 1,000 millennials across the nation, found that 30 percent have put off homeownership entirely right now.
  • 76 percent of respondents said they’ve “made compromises” — either living with parents, family, or roommates — to achieve affordable housing. Thirty-six percent said they’ve had to move farther away from school or work to find affordable living arrangements. Many have had to put off saving for the future.
  • Nearly 70 percent of millennials pay more than 1⁄3 of their income toward housing. Of those cost-burdened youngsters, 17 percent said they’re not paying for preventative healthcare. Ouch.
  • Still, just 28 percent of millennials said they plan to continue renting or living with parents. That’s optimism.

Maybe because they plan to leave the urban environments they love.

A recent Atlanta Regional Commission report says the greatest concentrations of millennial homeowners are in the far-flung outskirts of the 20-county metro. Probably not a coincidence that homes are comparatively dirt cheap there.