Atlanta’s recent winning streak when it comes to top spots in national city rankings is continuing this month. But that’s not always a good thing.

Two unrelated studies have slotted Atlanta in pole position over the past week for the city’s attractiveness to recent college graduates—and, on the flipside, for the apparent shakiness of the metro’s housing market.

Let’s start with the positive news.

With graduation season upon us, researchers with online database CoworkingCafe weighed a series of factors with places across the U.S. to determine which is the best big-city landing spot for people who’ve recently obtained degrees. Their answer? The Big Peach.

Analysts leaned on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Yardi Matrix, U.S. Census Bureau, and other sources to determine city rankings. Metrics included cost of living, income levels, job opportunities, and lifestyle amenities for each city, among other factors. Winners were broken down into three population brackets: small, midsized, and large cities.

Based on those metrics, Atlanta took the top spot as the best large city for recent grads to put down roots, scoring first in the financial category with median incomes of more than $67,000 for people with a bachelor’s degree age 25 and older.

Atlanta also charted high (trailing only San Francisco and Seattle, respectively) for its share of young people with employer-based health insurance. In terms of lifestyle perks, ATL led the pack for the number of coworking spaces per 100,000 residents (nearly 17) and trailed only Miami for the number of per capita leisure establishments (715 per 100,000 people).

Atlanta’s unemployment rate of 5.8 percent among people age 20 to 29, according to 2021 data, was good for seventh place.

In CoworkingCafe’s other population brackets, Arlington, Va. took the top spot for grads to start careers among mid-sized cities, and California’s Santa Clara ranked as the best small city.

And then there’s the more disconcerting ranking out of Florida this week.

According to new research compiled by Florida Atlantic University, metro Atlanta has the most overpriced housing market in the U.S. right now, with home prices surging beyond their expected ceilings over the past five years as the metro’s population expanded. 

Metro Atlanta’s gap between current home prices and where the researchers’ methodology says prices should be is much larger today than competing Sunbelt cities such as Tampa, Nashville, Orlando, and Phoenix.

Florida Atlantic University

Analysts also used Zillow open-source data to determine metro Atlanta’s homes are selling for nearly 50 percent more than they’re worth, on average, as of late March.

The metro’s average listing prices in March of $363,000—while down from last year—is more than $120,000 higher than where Florida Atlantic University researchers say they should be. Find more on their methodology here.


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