A shortage of affordable housing in Macon is driving prices “through the roof,” with rising interest rates and the pandemic failing to slow things down. According to WGXA News, Macon is a competitive seller’s market that favors landlords and property owners. Home values have soared by more than 25%, while median rents for 3-bedroom homes increased by 14% year over year.
The metropolitan area of Warner Robins is located about 10 miles south of Macon and is home to some of the cities with the most expensive homes in the metro area. Over the past 4 years, cities like Centerville and Elko have seen typical home values grow by more than 50%.
Macon, Georgia, is a city rich in history and culture. Founded in 1823, it was the site of the Battle of Macon during the Civil War. Today, the city is home to a number of historical sites and museums, as well as a thriving arts scene and a booming economy.
Macon is also a great place to invest in single-family rental (SFR) property for several reasons. First, the city has a strong economy with a diverse mix of industries, which provides stability and growth potential. Additionally, Macon is affordable compared to other markets in the state, making it a more attractive option for investors.
The city also has a large population of renters, creating a consistent demand for rental properties. Lastly, Macon is located in a central location within the state, providing easy access to major cities and highways, earning it the nickname "The Heart of Georgia.”
Keep reading to learn why the real estate market in Macon is attracting rental property investors in 2022.
Over the past 10 years, the population of Macon-Bibb County grew by over 70% after the 2 counties were consolidated, which is one reason why GeorgiaTrend sees “growth at every corner.” Macon is strategically located between Atlanta and Savannah, with massive construction projects underway to accommodate the region’s booming population and soaring employment growth.
Key population stats:
- Macon is the fourth-largest city in Georgia with a population over 157,000 in the city and nearly 230,000 in the metropolitan area.
- The population of Macon-Bibb County grew by 72.2% over the past 10 years, according to the most recent census.
- There are nearly 100,400 employees in Macon, with employment growing by 3.2% year over year.
- Unemployment in Macon-Bibb County is down to 3.0%, according to the most recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
According to a recent report on GeorgiaTrend, Southern hospitality and economic vitality go well together in Macon. The first new downtown hotel in more than 50 years is opening, creating 100 new jobs to help support tourism, business expansions, and redevelopment.
The intersection of I-75 and I-16 near downtown is being widened to prepare for increasing truck traffic between Savannah and Atlanta, the city is proactively countering vacant storefronts with development incentives, such as multiyear tax freezes, while local universities boast new engineering and medical programs to train employees in the region.
Key employment stats:
- Gross domestic product (GDP) of the Macon metropolitan statistical area (MSA) is nearly $11 billion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and has grown by more than 17% over the last 10 years.
- The rate of job growth in Macon-Bill County is 3.2% year over year, while median household incomes increased by 3.5% and poverty declined by nearly 2.9%.
- The median household income in metropolitan Macon is $46,083, while per capita income is $26,696 and the cost of living is 25% below the national average.
- Forbes ranks Macon as one of the best places for business and careers, and one of the most affordable cities in the country for doing business.
- The average hourly salary in Macon is $16.26, with popular occupations like nursing and nurse assistance earning between $10.02 and $30.20 per hour.
- Leading employment sectors in Macon include manufacturing, tourism, aeronautics, and medical.
- Robins Air Force Base, headquarters to the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and the Georgia National Guard, is located 10 miles south of Macon and employs more than 23,000 military and civilian personnel.
- Major employers in Macon-Bibb County include Atrium Health Navicent, Piedmont Healthcare, GEICO, Mercer and Middle Georgia State universities, manufacturing company YKK, and the Macon-Bibb County government.
- Nearly 20,000 students live in the metropolitan area and attend colleges and universities like Mercer University, Middle Georgia State University, Central Georgia Technical College, and Wesleyan College.
- About 87% of Macon residents are high school graduates or higher, while about 24% hold a bachelor’s degree or an advanced degree.
- Macon is located at the crossroads of interstate highways I-75 and I-16, and is within a day’s drive of Atlanta, Savannah, Nashville, Orlando, and Miami.
- Middle Georgia Regional Airport is 10 miles from downtown Macon, while Atlanta/Hartsfield-Jackson International airport is less than 90 minutes from Macon.
Real estate market
Homes in Central Georgia are staying on the market for one to 3 days, with some offers coming in at $10K or more above the asking price, according to a report from 13 WMAZ News. While that’s bad news for first-time buyers, a hot housing market like Macon may be ideal for investors looking for cash flow plus appreciation. Home values in the Macon metro area have soared by more than 25% last year alone.
Key market stats:
- The Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI) for Macon is $137,360 as of May 2022.
- Home values in Macon have increased by 25.5% over the last year.
- Over the past 5 years, home values in Macon have increased by more than 77%.
- The median list price of a home in Macon is $185,000, according to the most recent research from Realtor.com (as of May 2022).
- The median listing price per square foot for a home in Macon is $107.
- The median days on market is 45.
- The median sold price for a home in Macon is $188,000.
- Sale-to-list price ratio is 100%, meaning that, on average, homes in Macon are selling for approximately the full asking price.
- Of the 13 neighborhoods in Macon, Downtown Macon is the most expensive, with a median listing price of $425,000.
- The most affordable neighborhood in Macon for buying a home is the Fort Hill District, where the median listing price is $20,500.
Attractive renter’s market
Even though the median listing price of a home in Macon is less than $110 per square foot, the metro area is popular with renters. As a recent article from The New York Times reported, a competitive housing market is fueling a surge in rental applications, especially in smaller cities like Macon. In fact, the year-over-year growth in rental applications in Macon was 83%, the highest among smaller cities.
Key market stats:
- The median rent in Macon is $1,000 a month for a 3-bedroom home, according to the most recent report by Zumper (July 2022).
- Rents in Macon increased by 14% year over year.
- Sixty percent of the homes in Macon rent for between $1,000 and $2,000 per month.
- Renter-occupied households in Macon account for 40% of the total occupied housing units in the metropolitan area, according to RENTCafé.
- The median age in Macon is 38.3 years.
- Thirty-eight percent of the population is between the ages of 20 and 49.
Historic price changes & housing affordability
There are 2 key things that real estate investors can look at to help them understand the demand for rental properties: how home prices are trending, and whether it's more affordable to buy or rent a home. By analyzing these trends, investors can get a better sense of where the market is heading and what kind of demand there might be for rental properties in the future.
The Freddie Mac House Price Index (FMHPI) measures the change in housing prices for real estate markets in the U.S. The report assigns December 2000 with a benchmark of 100 and then compares the monthly change in housing prices in every city and major metro area in the nation.
The most recent FMHPI from Freddie Mac for the housing market in the Macon, Georgia, MSA:
- May 2017: 109.5
- May 2022: 171.3
- Five-year change in home prices: 56.4%
- One-year change in home prices: 18.8%
- Monthly change in home prices: 1.9%
Housing affordability is another statistic real estate investors review to determine the potential demand for rental property.
The Housing Affordability Index (HAI) compares median family incomes to prices of median resale single-family homes. Of course, other factors may cause people to rent rather than own, such as lifestyle choices or a short supply of available housing. For example, even though homes are relatively affordable in Macon, there is still a high percentage of renter-occupied households.
Based on the most recent HAI data through July 2021, the housing affordability index in Macon-Bill County is 156. This means that residents in Macon have about one and a half times the income needed to purchase a median-priced home, assuming a down payment of 20%.
Quality of life
There are plenty of great things about living in Macon, according to residents of the city. The Telegraph recently polled people in Macon and discovered that most respondents have lived in Macon for at least 10 years. Lifestyle, local attractions, nature, festivals, and dining out were some of the many reasons why people like Macon.
Key quality of life stats:
- The cost of living in Macon is 25% below the national average and 6% lower than the average for Georgia.
- Niche.com gives Macon good ratings for commuting, cost of living, and weather.
- Macon boasts an average commute time of less than 21 minutes, one of the many reasons residents love living there.
- Nearly 20,000 students live in Macon-Bibb County and attend colleges like Central Georgia Tech and Wesleyan College.
- Robins Air Force Base is located 10 miles south of Macon near the city of Warner Robins and employs over 23,000 civilian, contractor, and military personnel.
- About 60% of homes in Macon rent for between $1,000 and $2,000 per month.
- Median property tax in Macon is $1,188 per year.
- Southern rock music got its start in Macon thanks to hometown musicians like The Allman Brothers Band, Otis Redding, and Little Richard.
- Some of the many festivals in Macon include the International Cherry Blossom Festival, Georgia Music Week, and the Skydog music festival celebrating the birth, life, and music of Skydog Duane Allman.
- The climate in Macon is humid-subtropical, with about half of the winters receiving little or no snowfall.