The plunge happened during the most severe period of the coronavirus outbreak in Atlanta, when much of the city’s economy was locked down.
The sudden reversal ended 8 years of steady rent growth in the Atlanta market, according to the latest research from ApartmentData.com. Average rents were down 2.2% from March through May for the entire metro Atlanta market, but declines were sharpest in areas of Buckhead, Lindbergh and Emory, Midtown — including Piedmont Park — and the Atlanta Beltline Eastside Trail. Rents across the entire Atlanta market are down just 0.2% over the past 12 months thanks to a stronger performance in suburban apartment markets.
In metro Atlanta, ApartmentData.com surveyed 1,833 properties representing 445,356 units.
Atlanta apartment rents during worst of Covid-19:
- Buckhead: Down 5.5%, with rents now $1,834 per month
- Lindbergh, Emory: Down 5%, now $1,434 per month
- Midtown, Westside, Piedmont Park: Down 4.6%, now $1,684 per month
- Downtown, Atlanta Beltline Eastside Trail: Down 4.2%, now $1,446 per month
In Buckhead, monthly rent for an apartment plunged $90 since May 2019, according to the data. The declines were notable because April and May are historically strong months for leasing, but that did not happen this time, said Bruce McClenny, president of ApartmentData.com.
“The market is very responsive to changes in demand, and prices have reacted to that,” McClenny told Atlanta Business Chronicle.
Apartment landlords may be more willing to negotiate more favorable lease terms for tenants that renew, putting even more downward pressure on rents, he added. Landlords at the newest Buckhead apartment towers, which are starting to hit the market for lease, may also need to cut rents to generate leasing activity.
“The new properties is where the pressure will be,” McClenny said.