Apartment Demand in the First Quarter 2021 More than Doubled the First Quarter of 2020
By Trenton Turner
May 11, 2021 | 9:49 AM
Demand for apartments in suburban Atlanta surged in the first quarter of 2021, following a trend throughout 2020 when renters migrated to the suburbs of major cities in response to the coronavirus pandemic. But Atlanta also stood out for the relative strength of its urban locales.
In all, renters moved into nearly 4,200 apartments last quarter in the Atlanta market, well above the 1,700 units absorbed in the first quarter of 2020. Atlanta’s urban, suburban and exurban areas all posted positive absorption figures in the first quarter of 2021, except for Sandy Springs.
The region’s northern suburbs posted the strongest absorption numbers, with areas such as North Gwinnett and Cumberland-Galleria ranking among the most in-demand neighborhoods. Renters are attracted to these areas due to the proximity to major job centers, relative affordability compared to intown neighborhoods, and top-notch public school districts. Developers in both submarkets are focusing on building walkable, denser nodes, which will appeal to millennial renters priced out of intown neighborhoods, and potentially, young families and empty nesters.
In most other large markets across the U.S., urban neighborhoods have only begun to recover. Downtown Boston and downtown Chicago recorded positive net absorption for the first time since the onset of the pandemic in the first quarter of 2021. But in Atlanta, the intown neighborhoods of Decatur-North Druid Hills, Eastside and Buckhead all have carried gains from the previous year into the first quarter.
Lease-up for new properties remained strong during the winter months of 2021, despite the traditionally slower months of the leasing season. The infusion of thousands of blue-collar industrial jobs and high-paying, office-using jobs over the next few quarters should also bolster multifamily, in both workforce housing and high-end product during the heightened summer leasing season.