Atlanta home buyers need to earn almost $60K more in 2024 than 2020 to afford home

(Credit: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

New research from Zillow does not bode well for those aspiring to purchase a home in Atlanta.

According to their latest analysis, individuals looking to buy a home in the United States now need an average income exceeding $106,000 to comfortably afford it. This marks an 80% increase from January 2020. Unfortunately, median income in the U.S. has only risen 23%.

Specifically for Atlanta, the analysis indicates a required income of $115,430, which is a substantial increase of $59,441 since 2020, representing a 94.2% surge.

Furthermore, the average monthly mortgage payment in Atlanta has skyrocketed by 112.7% to $2,364, assuming a 10% down payment.

In 2020, a household earning $59,000 annually could comfortably afford the monthly mortgage on a typical U.S. home, falling below the U.S. median income of approximately $66,000. This meant that more than half of American households could afford to purchase a home.

However, the current scenario paints a different picture. The roughly $106,500 now needed is well above the typical U.S. household's earnings of about $81,000 per year. The monthly mortgage payment has also doubled since January 2020, increasing by 96.4% to $2,188.

For a household with the median income in Atlanta, it would take around 10 years to save enough for a 10% down payment, nearly two years longer than it would have taken in 2020.

Zillow says the average value of a home in Atlanta is currently $387,216.

According to Neilsberg Research, the median income in Atlanta is $95,420 for those aged 24 to 44; $99,907 for those aged 45 to 64; and $41,713 for those aged 65 and older.

Many younger home buyers are resorting to "house hacking" – the practice of renting out all or part of a home – to generate additional income.

Additionally, Zillow reports that many home shoppers are now pooling resources with friends and family to buy homes.

For those willing and able to relocate, there are cities where buying a house is not as prohibitively expensive. Metro areas such as Pittsburgh ($58,232 income needed to afford a home), Memphis ($69,976), Cleveland ($70,810), New Orleans ($74,048), and Birmingham ($74,338) are among those with the lowest income requirements to comfortably afford a typical home. The only major metros where a typical home is affordable to a household making the median income are Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Detroit.

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Conversely, there are seven major metros where a household's income must exceed $200,000 to comfortably afford a typical home. The top four are in California: San Jose ($454,296), San Francisco ($339,864), Los Angeles ($279,250), and San Diego ($273,613). Seattle ($213,984), the New York City metro area ($213,615), and Boston ($205,253) complete the list.

Atlanta ranks No. 24 on the list of 51 cities analyzed.