Are Metro Atlanta Wages Keeping Pace with Home Prices?

by Peter Thomas Ricci

Nationwide, wage growth has lagged behind home prices; is that still true here in Atlanta?


Back in April, we reported some unsettling news – per analysis by RealtyTrac, wage growth in the Atlanta area in 2013 and 2014 lagged far behind home prices, with prices growing at more than 10 times the rate of wages; only San Francisco saw a greater disparity.

With student debt, economic insecurities and nonexistent savings playing such pivotal roles in today’s economy, RealtyTrac’s findings were not promising for the long-term health of the local housing market – and new research suggests that things may be getting even worse.

According to RealtyTrac’s new Affordability Report, from from 2014 Q1 to 2015 Q1, home prices have risen beyond wages in all of Metro Atlanta’s six largest counties.

Here is a graph of RealtyTrac’s findings:


Although prices in Cherokee and Cobb County were relatively in line with wages, they still grew at twice the rate – while in DeKalb, prices grew at an astounding 20 percent to wages’ 1 percent.

And unfortunately, Metro Atlanta’s counties are in the majority. In its report, RealtyTrac emphasized that in the last year, prices outpaced wages in 68 percent of U.S. counties, and since bottoming out in the first quarter of 2012, the average U.S. home price has risen 24 percent, while the average weekly wage nationwide has risen 7 percent.

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