There are key factors to consider when choosing the next city you want to call home— from the selection of local breweries and restaurants to the cost of living and quality of life. Atlanta is often known for being an affordable mid-sized city with lots to explore and plenty of job opportunities. But with rising housing costs nationwide, how far will your dollar really get you? Read on to find out.
Looking for an apartment in Atlanta? AptAmigo can help you find the right place for your budget. With a personal apartment expert by your side, the process is no-stress and tailored to your needs (and did we mention completely free?) Get started!
Cost of Living in Atlanta
Do you dream of living in San Francisco or New York, but can’t stomach the exorbitant rents? If so, Atlanta might be the perfect city for you. Rent is definitely on the rise, and typically a bit higher than other mid-sized US cities, but prices are still affordable compared to some of the most popular large cities in the nation.
To put it in perspective: average Atlanta rent for a 1 bedroom apartment is $1,600, compared to $1,360 for the national average. Compare that to averages well over $2,500 per month for the top 3 priciest cities (San Francisco, NY, and Boston etc.), and Atlanta rent prices are a steal.
Where you live in Atlanta will impact how much you’re likely to spend on rent. If you have your heart set on popular neighborhoods like Old Fourth Ward, Inman Park, or Buckhead, expect to pay somewhere around $75-150 more in rent per month.
Compare that to more suburban areas like Sandy Springs or Roswell, where you will enjoy slightly lower prices, but a less walkable neighborhood. Some in-town neighborhoods, like Midtown, have a wide variety of housing options, so you’ll have more flexibility depending on your preferences.
Ultimately, you’re preferences will play a large roll in rent price. If you want to be right in the middle of Atlanta’s vibrant dining and arts scene, spending a few extra bucks each month will be easily justifiable.
Spending a little extra to live near your workplace might also save you money in the long run. Atlanta is notorious for long commute times and bad traffic, so a more walkable neighborhood = a lower gas budget and less vehicle maintenance!
Related: Atlanta Neighborhood Map
Cost of Rent in Atlanta
Average rent = $1,600
Usually, the most expensive part of relocating is the difference in rent trends and pricing in your new city. Luckily, for a major city, Atlanta is one of the more affordable areas in the U.S. While average rent for a one bedroom in the city can hover around $1,600 (sometimes peaking around the $1,900s), you can still find one bedrooms outside of downtown Atlanta for around $1,098.
If you can afford it, spending a little more to be in your favorite Atlanta neighborhood is definitely worth it. With so many unique and walkable communities, finding the perfect neighborhood for you will allow you to soak up the full Atlanta experience. From stunning downtown views to local boutiques, street art, and summer festivals, no two neighborhoods are the same in Atlanta. Fortunately, Atlanta is a very driveable city, so you don’t have to feel confined to one neighborhood. You can always hop on I-75 and explore all of the other popular neighborhoods in Atlanta.
To find the best housing options for your money, be sure to check out AptAmigo’s selection of apartments renting for under $1000 per month, junior one-bedroom apartments, three-bedroom apartments renting for under $2000, and our move-in specials.
Cost of Utilities in Atlanta
Average utilities = $235
When calculating the cost of living in Atlanta, it is important to consider the monthly cost of utilities. With average summer temperatures reaching the high 80s and typical humid southern weather, your air conditioning will get plenty of use. Expect to pay $157 a month on standard utilities, and an additional $78 on internet. Obviously your utility expenses will vary, but setting aside about $235 per month will ensure you stay within your budget. Utilities are often overlooked, but important to calculate so that you don’t find yourself spending more than you anticipated.
Food & Dining Cost
Grocery Rating = 98.8/100
The cost of groceries in Atlanta is slightly lower than the national average. On a scale of 1-100 (with 100 being the national average), Atlanta scores a 98.8. With appetizing dining options on every corner, budgeting for restaurant dining is essential. Foodies and chefs from all over flock to Atlanta to try the Michelin star restaurants and eclectic cocktail lounges, so it will be easy to spend a pretty penny in these highly sought-after establishments. On average, a meal for two in downtown Atlanta costs $50, so depending on how often you indulge in chef-prepared food, your monthly costs could go up. If you dine at restaurants twice a week, prepare to spend around $200 a month on food.
Average Salary in Atlanta = $4,523/month
It’s important to know how much you need to make in order to live comfortably in Atlanta. Considering average rent is around $1,600 and the general rule of thumb is to bring in 3x that amount monthly, your salary should be about $4,800 a month before taxes. Luckily, the average monthly salary for Atlanta is $4,523 after taxes, so the numbers match up well.
How Much Does it Cost to Live in Atlanta?
On a very basic level, it costs an average of $2,035 per month to live in Atlanta. This of course does not factor in miscellaneous expenses or entertainment.
All in all, Atlanta is slightly more expensive than the national average, but the average salary is higher as well. With many tech startup, media giants, and major corporations headquartered in Atlanta, the job pool is growing larger and more varied every day.
If you’re renting in Atlanta, knowing where to live and where to find deals will save you thousands of dollars per year. Reach out to us or sign up for our Hot Deals email to get the running list of Atlanta’s current apartment deals.
Advice for Moving to Atlanta
Should You Rent or Buy?
Due to the wide availability of apartments in highly desirable neighborhoods, renting is common for Atlantans. If you’re looking to live in a walkable neighborhood, it’s almost always more affordable to rent. Renting also provides more flexibility, impressive amenities, and the chance to meet new people through community events. With cheaper rental pricing than most large U.S. cities, you’ll get more “bang for your buck” when renting in Atlanta than you would in cities like New York or San Francisco.
If you’re moving to a new city, renting for at least the first year will allow you to learn more about each neighborhood, see what you like and dislike, and help you make a more informed decision when it comes time to buy.
Once you find your favorite neighborhood and your dream apartment at the perfect price, it’s time to move in! Check out our Ultimate Moving Checklist for a no-stress move (trust us, we’ve helped thousands of people relocate). Our best pro tip: bring a tape measure with you when you initially tour your new apartment, as well as when you move in. It will make it so much easier to know where your items will fit, and will help make the unpacking process smoother.
Once your move is complete it’s time for the fun part— exploring your new city!
If you’re new to Atlanta, there are plenty of places to explore! If being outdoors is your style, take a walk on the BeltLine to get acquainted. This multi-use trail connects more than 40 diverse communities and neighborhoods. Depending on where you hop on, you’ll find bars and restaurants, art installations, or lush parks. A stroll on the BeltLine is one of the most popular outdoor activities in Atlanta, and you’re always likely to see something new.
For more resources on things to do in your new city, check out our Exploring Atlanta series, read up on Things to Do in Midtown & Downtown, and then Tour Like a Local with our ultimate Atlanta guide!
Get Free VIP Apartment Hunting Assistance
Ready to move to Atlanta? We know that apartment hunting can be a struggle, especially if you’re relocating. AptAmigo’s goal is to make finding an apartment completely stress-free. By pairing you with a dedicated local expert who knows the ins-and-outs of Atlanta, you can find better apartments in half the time. Whether you’re an early riser or a night owl, AptAmigo’s 24/7 customer service is there when you need it. Oh, and did we mention— it’s completely free.