As with any developing metropolis, Atlanta’s growth spurts come with merits and pitfalls.
Take, for example, a study released last fall by RentCafé showing that 90 percent of the apartments that cropped up around the city in 2017 qualified as “luxury” living.
For that reason and others, such as continued strong jobs growth over the past several years, places like Atlanta are becoming less affordable by the day.
Another RentCafé report published earlier this month says metro Atlanta houses six of the nation’s top 20 suburbs for renters.
And with research like that on the books, it’s no wonder Atlanta’s 2018 rent increases outpaced nearly every other market in America.
That’s according to a new study by RealPage, a data analytics firm focused on the real estate industry.
RealPage has found that rent prices in Atlanta have climbed 4.8 percent over the past 12 months, trumped only by Las Vegas (7.4 percent increases), and Orlando (5 percent). Jacksonville also logged a 4.8 percent spike.
To lend some perspective, the nationwide average rent increase in 2018 was clocked at 3.3 percent, and Atlanta watched rents rise by just 3 percent over the course of 2017, per RealPage’s findings.
However, these recent increases are small compared to the 7 percent upticks the city witnessed in 2014 and 2015.
“Several areas of the market, including Buckhead, Midtown, and downtown, fell into negative rent change territory in early 2018 but have since rebounded,” according to the report. “Each closed the year with rent growth above 2 percent.”
RealPage pinned Atlanta’s average rent price in Q4 last year at $1,209 and said the average occupancy was 94.7 percent.
Although Atlanta has a long way to go on the affordable housing front, that means rents are typically lower than the national average of $1,353.
It’s worth noting that 2018 brought almost 8,500 new rental units online in metro Atlanta, which is far fewer than the 14,000 delivered the year prior.
“The pace of deliveries of new apartments hiccupped a bit at the end of 2018, but it allowed rent growth and occupancy to recover a good amount of ground through the year,” said Carl Whitaker, a RealPage market analyst, per the report. “Now, Atlanta is among the nation’s top performing markets.”
This year, according to RealPage, Atlanta is projected to see a 2.4 percent inventory bump with the addition of 12,000 new units.
Projections like that make the doldrums of recession-era Atlanta seem more and more like ancient history, at least for another year.