Perhaps you’ve seen the dour TV commercials recently that depict the typical American route to prosperity—youth, school, job, mortgage, family, equity—and how that’s become off-limits for much of today’s youth, due to steep home price increases and other factors.

Which got us wondering: Big picture, is that the case in metro Atlanta?

Any Atlantan with even a mild Zillow addiction knows home prices from Alpharetta to Decatur and Peachtree City have gotten astronomically higher, anecdotally speaking, since the Great Recession’s cloud-cover over the metro. We asked MarketNsight, an Atlanta-based real estate data and analysis provider, for more specifics.

According to MarketNsight’s principal and chief analyst John Hunt, housing’s “last normal year was 2002,” so a two-decade, metro-wide snapshot seemed logical.

The years following 2002 were defined by the subprime mortgage period, which then cratered into the recession of 2008 and 2009.  


Hunt’s analysis took into account a 26-county metro Atlanta area.

Get this: In 2002, the median sales price (or the exact middle point) for all new homes sold was just $167,750 across the metro. (Today, that buys the smallest floorplan at Clarkston’s tiny home village, but little else in livable condition within earshot of Atlanta's core.)

As of last year, the median sales price for new homes in metro Atlanta was $420,000—an increase of more than 150 percent across two decades, according to MarketNsight.

Wages and salaries in the U.S. have certainly increased over the same time period, but not nearly at the same rate.

Median price appreciation data for a 26-county metro region across the past 20 years.MarketNsight

But according to Hunt, the drastic increase in metro Atlanta home prices isn’t unexpected or abnormal.

“If we use 2002 as a baseline… and calculate a 4.6 percent annual price appreciation—which has been standard over the past three decades—then we see that prices are right where they should be,” says Hunt.  

With restricted supply, continued population growth, and many younger metro Atlantans wishing to start families, the appreciation trend shows few signs of cooling as 2024 begins, according to an AJC report today.

And for better or worse, a new Zillow ranking this week calls Atlanta the sixth-hottest market in the country right now.



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