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.
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 2020 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.
Key Population Stats:
- In 2018 Georgia had a state population of just over 10.5 million people, according to 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.
Earlier this year the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Georgia ranks #13 in job growth and #12 in overall growth among all 50 states. The strong job market in Georgia is due to a variety of factors including the state’s pro-business environment, business incentives, well-educated workforce, and Georgia’s status as a center of innovation.
Key Employment Stats:
- GDP of Georgia is more than $592 billion and has grown by more than 45% since 2009.
- Job growth in Georgia was 1.7% last year and ranks as the sixth-best state for doing business, according to Forbes.
- Georgia also ranks #7 in regulatory environment, #5 in economic climate, and boasts a Moody’s bond rating of AAA - one of only nine states with this highest credit ranking.
- In 2020, Georgia is forecast to gain 53,500 new jobs with the job market increasing by another 48,200 in 2021.
- Georgia has a labor force of 5.2 million and an unemployment rate of just 3.4%, according to 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 36.2 years vs. the U.S. median age of 37.7.
- 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 30% 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 20 years in a row.
Real Estate Market
Home values are getting hotter in Georgia, according to MoneyWise. Although property values in the state are high by historical standards, homes in Georgia are still very affordable compared to what the typical house is worth in other parts of the U.S.
Key Market Stats:
- Median home value in Georgia is $195,500 according to Zillow (as of Oct. 2019).
- Home values in Georgia have increased 7.5% over the last 12 months and are forecast to rise another 5.5% in the next year.
- Median listing price of a house in Georgia is $259,900 and the median selling price is $199,400.
- Since 2012 the average price of a house in Georgia has more than doubled.
- Average days on market is 68, which is the second-shortest time between listing and selling over the past ten years.
- 16.8% of the homes listed for sale in Georgia have a price reduction during the listing period.
- 9.5% of the homes in Georgia have a negative equity vs. 8.2% U.S. average.
- 1.1% of the homes in Georgia have a delinquent mortgage vs. 1.1% nationally.
- 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
A recent article from FOX Business reports that Millennials are buying houses just for the rental income. Based on these key market stats for rental property in Georgia, it’s easy to understand why.
Key Market Stats:
- Median rent in Georgia is $1,445 per month, according to Zillow (as of Oct. 2019).
- Rents in Georgia have increased more than 28% in just six years.
- Average monthly rents in Georgia are about 10% below the U.S. average of $1,588 per month.
- The average rent list price per square foot is $0.86 in Georgia.
- Median rents by bedrooms in Georgia run from $1,350 for a 1-bedroom unit up to $1,700 for a 4-bedroom house.
- Areas in Georgia with the highest rents include Johns Creek, Suwanee, Braselton, Dunwoody, and Alpharetta.
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 FHA publishes its House Price Index report that measures housing price changes over the long- and short-term.
In the most recent FHA 2019 Q2 House Price Index, the organization found that home prices in Georgia have increased by nearly 154% 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 1.28%.
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 recently moved up 15 spots in the newest ranking of best states to live, according to a recent report by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In fact, over the past year, Georgia improved in every key quality of life ranking category and finished in the top ten of two categories.
Here’s our short list of why people love to live, work, and play in Georgia.
Key Quality of Life Stats:
- Seven 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 $55,398.
- 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 Spring Cup Series.
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