Atlanta job market lures 67K new residents in one year, cost of housing continues to rise

The numbers are in, and the Atlanta metro area is growing at a breakneck pace. 

According to a recent report by the Atlanta Regional Commission, 66,730 people moved to the metro Atlanta between April 2022 and April 2023. 

That’s up from last year’s growth of 64,940 people.

"The biggest one-year growth we've gotten since 2016," said Mike Carnathan, Managing Director of Research and Analytics for ARC.

He says Atlanta’s strong job market is driving this growth.

"[We have] one of the strongest job recoveries in the nation since the pandemic and continued job growth like this sets the environment for robust population growth," Carnathan said. 

But he says all this growth can exacerbate an already overpriced housing market.   

Especially when affordable housing inventory is at an all-time low.   

"We consider the lack of affordable housing one of the greatest threats to our future prosperity. And we have to figure that out," Carnathan said.   

The city of Atlanta, which saw some of the most growth, is trying to increase its housing inventory. 

The ARC’s report shows that the city issued many more building permits than any other metro regional government. 

The vast majority of those permits were for multifamily permits for apartments -- 10,078 in all. 

The next highest issuer of multifamily building permits was Gwinnett County with only 1,704.   

"These new units are not being built as affordable," said Deirdre Oakley, Professor of Sociology specializing in Urban Issues at Georgia State University.   

Oakley says too many of these apartments being built are expensive, luxury apartments. 

"There's not enough being done about it to even come close to remedying it…we need more affordable housing in the metro area," she said.   

Oakley warns if more isn’t done, many service industry and blue-collar workers will be priced out of much of the metro.   

FOX 5 reached out to the city of Atlanta to ask about their affordable housing efforts, but didn’t hear back from them in time for publication. 

But FOX 5 reported previously that the city plans to invest $100 million, along with $100 million in donations, in building and preserving 20,000 affordable units by 2026.