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Study: How Much You Need to Save to Buy an Atlanta Home

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If $400 per month sounds impossible, consider Los Angeles and Boston

Realtor.com is making the case that buying a home in Atlanta shouldn’t be out of reach for anyone who can sock away — or somehow produce — about $27,000, which is the city’s average down payment (at 10 percent) right now.

The listing service’s data team crunched the numbers in America’s 15 largest cities and found that a solid game plan for ATL homebuyers — especially first-time buyers — would be to save $14.78 daily for five years. (Compare that with Los Angeles, which is a much-less realistic $67.95 per day. Or Boston: $40.71 daily).

For Atlanta, that sub-$15 number on the surface is about five cups of coffee per day. (Anyone who can cut back coffee intake beyond that might not last five years anyhow). But when you’re talking about an extrapolated $420 monthly, the ascent of Mount Savings looks much steeper.

The website does note that time may be of the essence, as Atlanta prices are climbing faster than those in other cities (a drastic 6.5-percent spike in April over the previous year, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices report).

"That’s largely due to the lack of properties on the market at a time when more companies are moving down to the area, bringing a new crop of future Atlantans with them," the Realtor.com report notes. But then the good news: "Putting down roots in Atlanta, with its lower cost of living, burgeoning film industry, and usually pleasant weather, is still relatively affordable."

If stashing $15 bucks on the daily seems like a heavy burden, consider that the average down payment in Miami is nearly twice as much as Atlanta right now (perhaps influenced by big-money foreign investors), and the same goes for Dallas. The average down payment in San Francisco is more than $190,000, which equates to about 35 cups of Joe per day.

Of the top 15 cities, the study says only Detroiters need a cheaper five-year savings plan ($13.14/daily) than Atlantans.