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The 3 Most Affordable Counties in the Atlanta Area

by Peter Thomas Ricci

Where, in Atlanta’s vast terrain, is housing most affordable for owners and renters?

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Creative Commons 3.0: Pollinator, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Atlanta_aerial_view.jpg

Last week, we reported on housing affordability, and how competitive mortgage rates in the Atlanta area had further aided its legendary value.

At the same time, though, Atlanta is a massive space, and analysis from the Atlanta Regional Commission, which looked at the median income of Atlanta’s counties and compared it with housing costs, suggests there is substantial variation in just how affordable our local housing markets truly are.

Here were the main takeaways from the ARC’s analysis:

  • For homeowners, Clayton and Newton County were the least affordable, with 36.1 and 34.2 percent of homeowners, respectively, devoting more than 30 percent of their income to housing. The most affordable was Carroll County, at 26.4 percent, and it was followed closely by Cobb (26.6), Coweta (26.9), Fayette (26.7) and Forsyth (26.5).
  • For renters, Clayton and Newton were once again the most expensive, with 60.5 and 59.6 of renters spending 30 percent of their income on housing; remarkably, Coweta, at 49 percent, was the only county where a majority of renters did not face affordability concerns (and even that was by just 1 percentage point).
  • In every single Atlanta county, far more renters faced affordability concerns than owners; in Clayton, for instance, the share jumped from 36.1 percent of owners to 60.5 percent of renters, and even in Coweta, the numbers jumped from 26.9 to 49.
  • Finally, when considering the entire county population, the overall most affordable county was Forsyth at 29.7 percent. The least affordable? Clayton at 46.7 percent.

See our graph below for more details!

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