It wasn’t all that long ago that a month of free rent—and especially two months free rent—was extremely rare, if not unheard of, with Atlanta’s new crop of top-shelf apartment communities.
Now, per a recent national market analysis, rent concessions are not only the new normal in Atlanta, they’re more normal here than any other major city.
It’s no surprise that Atlanta ranks among the 15 cities to have received nearly half of all new apartment supply delivered across the U.S. in this long development cycle, which dates back to 2010.
But among those markets, metro Atlanta leads the pack in terms of average rent discounts of 9.1 percent as of March, which translates to more than one month’s free rent, according to RealPage, a provider of property management software solutions.
In Atlanta, analysts noted, apartment development has been “highly concentrated in a handful of historically high-performing submarkets in the urban core and northern suburbs,” and the majority of it has been high-priced luxury rentals, which has continued to lag older stock in terms of rent growth at the national level.
Across the country, developers have packed on more than 1 million new apartments since 2015 alone.
The flood of new units has increased options for prospective renters and created a more heated leasing competition in cities far and wide. The RealPage team did note that developers have generally changed strategies in attempts to fill up new apartments as quickly as possible, conceding free rents to get bodies in the building.
It’s not the only recent report to suggest Atlanta’s volcanic rental scene isn’t cooling a bit, although deploying the “bubble” description could be premature, as Coldwell Banker recently pointed out.
In Atlanta proper, rents that were surging not long ago had declined, on average, for three consecutive months, per January’s Apartment List rent report. Granted, 2017 ended with Atlanta rents being 2.2 percent higher than a year prior, but the growth lagged the national average (3.4 percent) and that of Georgia at large (3.8 percent).
Still, new supply hasn’t shown many signs of slowing.
According to RENTCafé, metro Atlanta was expected to log more apartment deliveries in 2017—almost 12,000—than all but seven other markets.
That represented a 40 percent increase over 2016, which would suggest the apartment boom is still kicking, as can be evidenced by a stroll through virtually any central Atlanta neighborhood.