Housing costs that are below the U.S. average, low taxes, and an affordable cost of living make Georgia a great place to live and invest in real estate. The most recent numbers from the Georgia Association of Realtors (GAR) speak for themselves. Median sales prices of a home in Georgia have increased by 13%, while the months supply of inventory is down 50% to just 1.6 months.
Nicknamed the “Peach State," Georgia is located in the vibrant southeastern part of the U.S., and is the eighth-most populated state in the country. Georgia is bordered by Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, and the Atlantic Ocean, and is home to more than 10.8 million.
Atlanta is the capital of Georgia, and with a population of about six million in the metro area, is also the state’s largest city and biggest real estate market. Other major cities in Georgia include Augusta, Columbus, Macon, and Savannah – the oldest city in the state.
Read on to learn why life in Georgia and the pro-business environment of the state make Georgia a great place to invest in real estate in 2021 and beyond.
Between 2018 and 2019, Georgia had a net population gain of nearly 200,000 residents, according to the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget and is one of the fastest growing among all 50 states in the U.S. Last year alone, the population of Georgia grew by almost 1%.
Key Population Stats:
- In 2019 Georgia had a state population of just over 10.6 million people, according to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau.
- Since 2010 the population of Georgia grew by 8.6%.
- Today, Georgia has more than 10.8 million residents, according to the Governor’s Office.
- By 2030 the office estimates Georgia will have nearly 12.3 million residents and will be home to nearly 13.3 million people by 2040.
- The largest metropolitan areas in Georgia are Atlanta with 6.6 million people, Savannah with nearly 550,000, and Columbus with more than 500,000 residents.
Job cuts in Georgia weren’t as brutal compared to other parts of the U.S., which is one reason why the economy in Georgia is expected to grow by 4% this year. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, the state should see bigger boosts from construction and the automotive industry, which should also help to increase the demand for rental property in Georgia.
Key Employment Stats:
- GDP of Georgia is nearly $626 billion and has grown by more than 54% since 2009.
- Job growth in Georgia was 2.45% last year and ranks as the sixth-best state for doing business, according to Forbes.
- Georgia also ranks #9 in regulatory environment, #7 in economic climate, with union workers making up only 4.5% of Georgia’s employment base.
- Georgia has a labor force of 5.1 million and an unemployment rate of just 5.6%, according to the most recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- The state ranks eighth in the nation for net migration gain over the last ten years.
- Median age in Georgia is 37.2 years vs. the U.S. median age of 38.5.
- Seventeen Fortune 500 companies are located in Georgia including Home Depot, UPS, Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Honeywell, and SunTrust Banks.
- Companies in Georgia on the Fortune 500 list of top U.S. companies include Aflac, PulteGroup, NCR, Intercontinental Exchange, Equifax, FleetCor Technologies, and Beazer Homes USA.
- Georgia’s diversified economy is powered by small and large businesses in finance and insurance, manufacturing and transportation, technology and logistics, and real estate.
- Companies in Georgia employ 380,000 workers in transportation and material moving, 315,000 in production, and nearly 150,000 in computer and mathematical occupations.
- Georgia is also home to 52,000 software developers and programmers, 44,000 engineers, and 21,000 computer and information analysts.
- Over the next few years, Georgia will have thousands of new job openings in the STEM careers of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.
- Every year, colleges and universities within a 250-mile radius of Atlanta produce one million new graduates earning a bachelor’s degree or higher.
- Top ranked institutes of higher education in Georgia include the state’s flagship research university the University of Georgia, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, and Emory University.
- Nearly 33% of Georgians have a bachelor’s degree and nearly 1 in 10 hold a master’s degree or higher.
- Research from the Georgia Department of Economic Development shows that Georgia ranks #5 in the U.S. for the greatest number of women-owned firms.
- The percentage of minority-owned firms in Georgia is 40%, greater than the national average.
- Main interstate highways in Georgia are I-20, I-75, I-85, and I-90.
- Georgia Ports Authority manages the two deepwater seaports at Savannah and Brunswick, and the two river ports at Bainbridge and Columbus.
- The Port of Savannah is the largest single container terminal in North America and has the largest concentration of import distribution centers on the entire East Coast.
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is the largest in the state and has been the world’s busiest airport for over 20 years in a row.
Real Estate Market
“Out-of-state investors are gravitating toward a daisy chain of often overlooked and out-of-the-way markets”in smaller cities in the Southeast, such as Augusta, Georgia. According to MoneyWatch, real estate investors in rural markets might very well benefit from a post-pandemic boom in 2021.
Key Market Stats:
- Median home value in Georgia is $221,471 according to Zillow (as of Dec. 2020).
- Value of a typical home in Georgia has increased by 8.3% over the last 12 months.
- Over the past five years median home values in Georgia have grown by over 40%.
- Average sales price of a home in Georgia increased by 14% to $316,979, based on the most recent statistics from the Georgia Association of Realtors (GAR).
- Days on market is 41 days, a decrease of 31% compared to the same time last year.
- Inventory levels shrunk by 46% year-over-year.
- Months supply of inventory is down 50% to 1.6 months, a strong indication that Georgia is a red-hot sellers market.
- Key housing market stats can vary within the state, so be sure to research real estate markets by city in Georgia, including Atlanta, Gainesville, Savannah, Columbus, and Augusta.
Strong Renters’ Market
According to WalletHub, several cities in Georgia including Atlanta, Sandy Springs, and Athens-Clarke are among the fastest growing places in the country. Population growth, along with a dynamic economy and housing prices, are helping to keep the real estate market here strong and the demand for rental property in Georgia robust.
Key Market Stats:
- Average rent in Georgia is $1,455 per month, or about $0.86 per square foot, based on the most recent data from HomeSnacks.
- Rents in Georgia are still more affordable than the U.S. average.
- Average rent for a home in Georgia has increased by 6.2% over the past year, or about $85 year-over-year.
- Median rents in Georgia range from $1,365 for a 1-bedroom place to $1,695 for a 4-bedroom home.
- 36% of the housing units in Georgia are occupied by renters, with single-family homes accounting for the largest share of housing units.
- Median household income in Georgia is $61,980 while per capita income is $32,657.
- Cities in Georgia with the highest rent include Johns Creek, Suwanee, Braselton, and Dunwoody.
Historic Price Changes & Housing Affordability
Historic price changes and the affordability of housing relative to other states are two ways that real estate investors can measure the current and potential future demand for rental property in Georgia.
Each quarter the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) publishes its House Price Index report that measures housing price changes over the long- and short-term.
In the most recent FHFA 2020 Q3 House Price Index, the organization found that home prices in Georgia have increased by more than 174% since the first quarter of 1991. Over the last five years, the price of a home in Georgia has grown by almost 42%, while over the last quarter prices have increased by 3.02%.
Every year, U.S. News & World Report measures the affordability of housing in each state using data from Moody’s Analytics and the U.S. Census Bureau. When measuring the affordability of housing in Georgia, researchers compare median housing prices in the state to median family incomes and mortgage interest rates.
U.S. News discovered that Georgia is the 18th most affordable state for housing in the U.S. By contrast, California and Hawaii ranked as the 49th and 50th states with the least affordable housing.
Quality of Life
Georgia ranks as as one of the best states to live and work, according to a recent report by U.S. News & World Report. In fact, Georgia receives high ratings for infrastructure, fiscal stability, an economy that should help to keep the real estate market strong for years to come.
Key Quality of Life Stats:
- Seventeen of the best hospitals in the U.S. are in Georgia.
- The state has six specialized training centers focusing on advanced manufacturing, aviation, bioscience, cybersecurity, film, and fintech, helping residents of the state earn a median annual household income of $61,980.
- Diversity is one of the main reasons people come to Georgia. In fact, Atlanta was the birthplace of civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Georgia has the perfect four-season climate, from summertime temperatures of 80 degrees to brief winters with average temperatures in the upper 40s.
- MLB Atlanta Braves, NFL Atlanta Falcons, NBA Atlanta Hawks, and MLS Atlanta United FC are the four major professional sports leagues in Georgia.
- Other world-renowned sporting events in Georgia include The Masters Tournament, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
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