Anyone who’s recently looked for housing in metro Atlanta knows how hard it can be to find anything that’s affordable.

The numbers are stark. Between 2011 and 2017, rents have gone up 35% and average home sale prices have increased a whopping 60%, while wages have only increased 15%.

About one in three residents in metro Atlanta are now considered “cost burdened” – that is, they spend more than 30% of their income on housing.

In a word: yikes.

All of this is troubling for a region that has boomed in recent decades in large part because of its affordability. It may seem an intractable problem, but the good news is: there are ways for local governments to address the issue.

To help guide the way, the Atlanta Regional Commission worked with a diverse group of regional leaders to create the Metro Atlanta Housing Strategy.

Part information portal and part solutions toolbox, the Strategy is designed to help local communities better understand their housing challenges and begin to address them. The goal is to foster a greater mix of housing options in the region.

An interactive website enables users to explore the housing in their community and the kinds of steps that may help improve things.

Here’s how it all works:

10 Housing Submarkets

color-coded map of the 10 subareas
Click on image to enlarge

Housing types in metro Atlanta can vary greatly, even within the same ZIP code. At the same time, the housing landscape in one part of the region may be similar to that of another across town.

The Atlanta Regional Housing Strategy acknowledges this diversity by breaking the Atlanta region into 10 submarkets based on housing characteristics like average sales price, age, type, and size. The submarkets cross city and county lines and include non-contiguous sections.

The website includes an easy-to-use search function. Just type in your city, county or neighborhood to get started.

6 Primary Strategies

Each submarket is matched with a customized set of strategies and related tactics that present options for local governments seeking to address their housing challenges. The strategies include:

  • Increase housing supply
  • Preserve affordable supply
  • Reduce housing and transportation costs
  • Expand capital resources
  • Promote housing stability
  • Develop leadership and collaboration on affordability

What’s Next ATL, produced by the Atlanta Regional Commission, is a community resource that explores how metro Atlanta is growing and changing, and how the region is addressing its most pressing challenges.