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Open Thread: How hard is it out there for first-time Atlanta homebuyers right now?

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Starter homes reportedly dot the city, and millennials have become active buyers, but the first step toward the American Dream isn’t always easy

A large beige home with a huge prominent chimney in front.
A remodeled 1925 home in Oakland City, southwest of downtown, now discounted to $344,900.
Simply List

Buying a home is hard, even with the likes of new apps that purport to smooth the process and real estate agents that promise a hassle-free experience.

And, much like driving a car or raising a child, the first time is always the most trying, they say.

Then again, hurdles abound each time you step into the Atlanta homebuyer market.

Many first-timers, for instance, are weighed down by debt these days, especially from student loans. Then there’s the struggle of identifying a neighborhood that caters to your many present and future needs.

Finding a good home with proximity to food, transit, and solid educational opportunities is easier said than done, especially when considering the rising property values most—if not all—Atlanta neighborhoods are experiencing.

A report from earlier this year pegged millennials as the most active homebuyers. But as subsequent studies have suggested, many of them—roughly 6 percent of millennial renters in Atlanta—are destined to rent for life.

Nevertheless, research published this past summer indicated Atlanta is one of the best major cities for first-time homebuyers, thanks in part to its relative affordability and low-ish cost of living.

A recent Atlanta magazine piece relayed that more than 10,000 so-called “starter homes” are dotted throughout the city, but many of those are becoming “forever homes,” partly because millennials have been taking their time before having kids and buying houses, meaning they tend to save up before making the jump. (The story also honestly relays the frustrations one young, childless couple has faced trying to land a starter home in Atlanta’s gauntlet of investor buyers and competition ready to outbid for desirable homes priced right.)

All of this considered, how tough is it really to purchase a starter home in Atlanta right now?

For this Open Threads installment, please relay what you’ve seen, heard, or experienced in the comments. Other Atlantans—or those hoping to become residents of the city—could benefit in knowing they aren’t alone.