The dominant narrative around metro Atlanta housing lately is that a number of factors have contributed to demand that’s pulverized supply, but a recent study of pandemic-era building permit activity suggests relief could be in the pipeline locally—relatively speaking, at least.
Metro Atlanta ranked fourth in the U.S. for the number of homebuilding permits issued in 2020 for single-family housing, according to property research company NeighborWho.
From Alpharetta to West End and far beyond, the metro racked up 28,632 home permits last year—a surge of 9 percent over 2019, according to NeighborWho’s analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data in a report titled, “2020 U.S. Home Building Permits Hit 13-Year High.”
That’s comparable to the amount of 2020 homebuilding permits issued in greater Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York combined.
Atlanta’s gangbusters permitting activity illustrates “a need for more homes and that more Atlantans have accumulated enough finances to afford their residences,” per NeighborWho's recap.
“While low mortgage rates and a housing shortage have contributed to the housing construction boom, our report shows this surge affects certain metropolitan areas and states more than others,” researchers wrote. “Atlanta is affected more than nearly any other city in the nation.”
Still, metro Atlanta’s house-building upswing paled in comparison to two Texas growth magnets atop the list: Metro Houston (49,915 permits) and Dallas (44,005), respectively. Phoenix was third (31,658), and Austin rounded out the top 5 (22,570).
Nationwide, the nearly 1 million permits issued in 2020 for new houses was the most since cusp-of-recession 2007 and could signal that fresh supplies of housing are in the works, per the study.
Georgia, meanwhile, ranked number 5 for total building permits (47,982), behind Texas (not surprisingly, with 158,242 permits), Florida, North Carolina, and California, in that order.
Another study by S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller published last month showed that metro Atlanta resale home prices jumped by more than 11 percent in the first year of the pandemic. That sounds drastic (and for homebuyers, it probably is), but that increase lagged behind the national average of 13.3 percent.
As the AJC noted following that report’s release, metro ATL home prices have now climbed to 30 percent higher than at the peak of 2007’s bubble—and 105 percent higher than the depths of the post-crash market nine years ago.
• 2020 Census results: Georgia has packed on a million more people (Urbanize Atlanta)