Writer: Gabriela Enamorado
2 min read January 2023 — Atlanta is known for being a business-friendly and diverse region that offers many opportunities. As a result, it has been experiencing immense growth in recent years, growth that has led to a hike in home prices and a subsequent drop in affordability that is now a central focus of leaders in the region.
The metro Atlanta area’s population has seen continuous growth and in 2022 boasted a population of 6,013,000, which was a 1.7% increase from 2021, according to Macrotrends. As new residents and businesses arrive, the problem has become where to put everyone. A lack of housing inventory has contributed to the rise in home prices. According to Norada Real Estate, the median home price in the region in September 2022 was $400,000 and the average sales price was over $477,000, a 12% and 11.7% increase, respectively. Median income, however, has risen at a slower pace, climbing just 1%.
In many areas throughout the region, monthly housing costs take up more than 40% of a homeowners’ income, which is well above the 30% threshold that the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta uses to monitor home affordability. Affordability in major metropolitan areas is at the lowest across the nation since 2008. In the Atlanta Fed’s affordability index, metro Atlanta is in the bottom half.
Leaders in the region are well-aware of the need for affordable housing, looking for ways to mitigate displacement while still building up Atlanta’s economy.
“One thing we are doing is bringing affordable housing to job centers and areas near transit,” Eloisa Klementich, president and CEO of Invest Atlanta, told Focus: in 2022. “The Invest Atlanta team is also looking at this issue so long-term residents can afford their homes. Seniors and families on a fixed income face this issue the most. We broke it down to create a program where owners can rehab their homes so they can continue to afford it.”
Invest Atlanta has also launched an RFP for a qualified nonprofit to administer a citywide anti-displacement fund.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, elected to office in 2021, is committed to making Atlanta “A City of Opportunity for All,” according to a statement from the mayor’s office, which includes ensuring affordable housing is accessible to all Atlantians. His plan is to build 20,000 units of affordable housing across the city in eight years. According to another press release, 1,240 affordable units have been completed since Dickens took office, with 4,044 additional affordable units under construction.
Dickens’ strategy includes the Affordable Housing Strike Force, which aims to bring together nonprofits and government agencies to prioritize affordable housing projects. According to the mayor’s press release, the strike force has introduced five major initiatives related to the administration’s affordable housing goals.
Outside of the Dicken’s strategy, another major affordable housing project in the region is one of the largest urban redevelopment projects in the United States. The Atlanta Beltline Project, a network of public parks, multi-use rails, transit and housing, has a project goal of 5,600 units of affordable workforce housing and they intend to reach that goal by 2030. So far, 56% of the affordable housing units have been completed.