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Atlanta wages growing faster than rents, study alleges

While numbers indicate ATL apartments should be getting more affordable, is the stat skewed by incoming high-paying jobs?

Atlanta’s rents have been climbing and climbing, putting the city steadfastly in the middle of the pack when it comes to apartment and rental home affordability across the nation.

But while it may seem Atlanta has lower rents than other major cities, incomes in Atlanta also tend to be smaller, making affordability a moving target. Add to the equation that pretty much every new building constructed is high-end, and it seems a recipe for some folks to be left behind.

A new study by SmartAsset has found that renters in Atlanta paid on average 2.8 percent less of their income on rent in 2015 than they did in 2012, representing the 10th-largest decrease of any city in the study. That’s pretty interesting.

While average rent costs in Atlanta increased by 4.3 percent (according to the study, at least) in that three-year period, income in the city grew by about 8 percent. Over the same period, annual household incomes in Atlanta rose from $46,466 to $50,210, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

It’s interesting to note that, more recently, rents bucked the bullish trend and decreased this summer. Of course, with any study, the numbers tell a story that many Atlantans may not actually feel as a reality.

One of the flaws in the study is that the incomes used are averages, rather than medians, meaning that new high-income positions could be distorting the numbers. Still, the growth of high-paying jobs in fields like technology and high-end automobiles is good news for the city.

So, Atlanta, do you feel that your income is outpacing rent increases?