Atlanta has six of America’s 20 fastest-growing suburbs for renters, report says

With their comparably affordable apartment communities, generally better schools and overall quieter lifestyles, suburbs are unsurprisingly attractive to many renters.

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According to RentCafe’s recent report for which analysts compiled Census and Yardi Matrix data to determine renter population trends between 2011 and 2016, the Peach State is leading the pack among the country’s most popular suburbs for renters.

In fact, of the 20 top trending suburbs with the highest influx of renters, six are in metro Atlanta. But these areas, RentCafe researchers note, have also seen rents rise at above average rates.

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Chamblee, in north DeKalb County, experienced the biggest boom in renters of any U.S. city between 2011 and 2016; its renter population increased 156 percent. In 2016, Chamblee had 19,400 renters and only about 8,400 owners, according to the report.

“For decades, Chamblee was an industrial zone, a smattering of residences, car dealerships, antique shops and open lots,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Michael Kanell reported in 2017. “Now, it benefits from spillover from higher-priced places like Brookhaven and Buckhead, and it sits in the path of forces of change that are sweeping through much of metro Atlanta – demographics, transit, trendy values and economics.”

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The city, a 20-30 minute drive from Atlanta without traffic, is incredibly popular among young professionals and is home to MARTA’s Chamblee train station.

But “given the scarcity of new construction in the last years, apartment rents went up $429 over a 5-year period in Chamblee while the median household income of renters went down by 8%, reaching $50,700,” RentCafe analysts wrote. Home sales, Kanell added, have been heating up, too.

According to RentCafe, average monthly rent in Chamblee, about $1,413, is just $10 short of the average rent in Atlanta. 

The city’s growth was propelled by zoning changes made in 2002, tax abatements issued by the development authority and Chamblee’s annexations, which more than doubled its area, The AJC previously reported.

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Gwinnett County’s Norcross came in second in RentCafe’s list with a renter population bump of 148 percent and 5-year rent increase of 38 percent. Home to affordable housing, great schools and booming business opportunities, the area is especially popular among immigrants.

“Once a rural summer destination for upper-class families, Norcross has now shifted into something quite different with a plethora of businesses taking over most of the area,” report authors wrote. The city is about a 25-minute drive to Atlanta without traffic.

Flower Mount, Texas, in the Dallas metro area, ranked third, followed by a Tampa, Florida, city and then back again to metro Atlanta’s increasingly diverse city of Clarkston, the “Ellis Island of the south” as Atlanta Magazine once called it.

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The city’s renter population increased 97 percent between 2011 and 2016. And renters are paying the least of any top suburb: an average $886 per month. Though the median household income for 2016 was quite low ($33,500), renters saw a 4 percent income change in the 5-year period.

Nearly half of Clarkston’s population comes from outside of the country — and many are refugees. According to The Guardian, the city has been home to more than 40,000 refugees in the past 25 years. Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry remains a public advocate for welcoming even more, despite state leaders’ previous desires to limit the number of refugees coming to Georgia.

Clarkston, in DeKalb County, is about 30 minutes from Atlanta.

Other metro Atlanta cities on the list: Johns Creek, Lilburn and Jonesboro.

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Here are the 20 fastest-growing suburbs for renters, according to RentCafe:

  1. Chamblee
  2. Norcross
  3. Flower Mound, Texas (Dallas)
  4. Riverview, Florida (Tampa)
  5. Clarkston
  6. Johns Creek
  7. Lutz, Florida (Tampa)
  8. Allen, Texas (Dallas)
  9. Burleson, Texas (Dallas)
  10. Lilburn
  11. Pearland, Texas (Houston)
  12. Ladera Ranch, California (Los Angeles)
  13. Wesley Chapel, Florida (Tampa)
  14. Lone Tree, Colorado (Denver)
  15. Jonesboro
  16. Chevy Chase, Maryland (Washington)
  17. Voorhees, New Jersey (New York)
  18. Burien, Washington (Seattle)
  19. The Colony, Texas (Dallas)
  20. Laguna Hills, California (Los Angeles)

Explore the full report at rentcafe.com.

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