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Have Atlanta Rents Finally Topped Out?

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For the first time in a long time, average ATL rents are heading south

For several years, Atlantans have been reading about, stressing over, and ultimately enduring ballooning rents from Decatur, to Westside, to Dunwoody and all points between.

The prevailing wisdom is that horror stories involving, in one case, a 30-percent rent hike with no unit upgrades signal a strengthening market — and not greed on the part of landlords and complex management.

But according to one apartment listing hub, that tide could be shifting.

A report last month by Abodo suggests that average rents across the metro may have topped out. On average, rents actually fell from a peak of $1,424 per month in January to $1,305 per month in March, as Bisnow reported. Rents dipped 2 percent in March alone.

Just one year ago, rents were only $1,180 on average. So yeah, the market's been white-hot.

Abodo officials pointed out that construction in Atlanta and other markets hasn't been this robust since the 1980s, which they believe signals a further softening of rent prices ahead.

Bisnow recalled a recent summit where executives said banks have started to tap the brakes on lending for further multifamily developments. Midtown alone counts nearly 20 projects under construction right now, which will introduce thousands of new apartments to the submarket.

But Abodo's Sam Radbil told the website it's far too early to expect the bottom to fall out of rent prices in Atlanta because the city offers "a very favorable business climate" that continues to attract businesses and residents in big numbers. Which could be good news for the city's overall health, but bad news for renters feeling the price-hike pinch.

Other industry leaders have prognosticated that cheaper rents in Atlanta will give rise to something else: the rebirth of condo towers.