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Atlanta renters flocking to suburbs, outpacing urban growth, study says

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Apartments may dominate residential development in the city, but suburban rentals are really booming

A five-story modern brick residential development atop a retail podium.
Modera Sandy Springs, currently under construction in the suburbs.
Mill Creek

Atlanta is ceaselessly cited as being a posterchild for suburban sprawl, with single-family homes extending miles and miles in every direction from the heart of the city.

And with no natural boundaries, Atlanta continues to spread as metro residents seek affordability and space. In places like Grayson and Woodstock, the “drive until you qualify” mantra is still alive and well.

Conventional wisdom would suggest that people seek the suburban lifestyle for the “American dream” of a white-picket fence and homeownership, but a new study by Rent Cafe found that suburban rentals are actually increasing at a staggering pace.

High-rise apartment towers in Atlanta proper are increasing density within the urban core, providing a 10-percent bump in residences, but the study found a staggering 26 percent jump in suburban apartment development.

The number is enough to outpace every other city in the United States.

Development of suburban apartments in Atlanta is likely driven by the creation of walkable districts within formerly car-dominated contexts. As far out as Snellville and Fayetteville, mixed-use developments are de rigueur.

With a strong suburban office and retail base, there would appear to be no end in sight for the monumental gains.

Rent Cafe