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Last updated: April 12, 2024 • Real Estate Market

The Cost of Living in Atlanta: A Comprehensive Guide

Known for its diversity, award-winning restaurants, and bustling economy, Georgia’s capital city is an excellent place for everyone.

Living in the Big Peach generally mirrors the pros and cons of life in Georgia. Undeniably, it has its perks; it is not crazy expensive, and it’s not so cheap to lose out on all the goodies. The cost of living in Atlanta is mildly higher than the national average by 2%, which you might not even notice if you’re a resident.

If you have decided to move to Atlanta, one of the best places to live in Peach State, or are still weighing your options, let’s explore what it’s like to live there. For your information, local real estate agents in Atlanta Georgia, can also address the following question!

How much do basic things cost?

How much should you earn to live comfortably?

What’s the real estate pricing like?

Table of Contents

Housing Cost

high low flat apartment house concept

The first thing to know about any potential new neighborhood, city, state, or country you want to relocate to is its real estate market in 2024. How much should you reasonably expect to spend on housing in the city?

Housing costs are up 8% in ATL compared to the national average. However, based on the type of housing, the price could swing both ways.

  • Average Rent Price: $1,813
  • Median House Value: $415,000
  • Mortgage Rate: 6.58%

For rents, based on different structures:

Housing TypeAverage Rent
Studio$1,623
1-Bedroom$1,807
2-Bedroom$2,430
3-Bedroom$3,337

Note:

Any one of Atlanta movers would tell you that expensive neighborhoods like Tuxedo Park, Chastain Park, and Argonne Forest have higher real estate prices. Meanwhile, areas like Cabbagetown and Forest Park are more affordable and will cost less.

Utilities

Whether renting or purchasing a home in Atlanta, utility bills should be on the next agenda. In “Hollywood of the South,” utility bills are about 14% lower than what the average American pays, which is a green check for the city. 

However, you should know ATL tends to experience hot summers, meaning your energy bills will go up from running ACs at home. Winters get cold, but with rare snowfalls, which might cause the bills to hit the roofs from using home heaters instead of alternative energy sources.

On average, you should pay about $230 – $325 monthly for all utilities, with about $75 for internet (60 Mbps or more, Unlimited Data) included.

  • Energy: $134.81
  • Phone: $163.21

Groceries and Food

woman buying food

How much you spend monthly on groceries and food depends mainly on how you get your meals. In Atlanta, you should expect to pay about 7% less on groceries than in most US cities.

For out-of-home eaters, $22 can cover their meal at an inexpensive restaurant in the city. However, choosing to eat at mid-range restaurants can cost around $65. Expect to pay $200+ in fancier restaurants. Is Atlanta one of the best food cities in the States? You decide!

On the other hand, home-cooked meals are a budget-friendly option if you’re looking to save on food expenses. Here’s a list of prices you can expect at the market, empowering you to take control of your food budget.

GroceriesCost
White Bread (500g)$3.39
Rice (white, 1kg)$5.64
Eggs (12, regular)$3.95
Milk (1 liter, regular)$2.25
Local Cheese (1kg)$15.51
Chicken Fillets (1kg)$15.02
Beef Round (1kg)$17.59

Transportation

transport image concept

Know this: Atlanta is a driving city. Of course, if you have a personal vehicle, that’s great. Still, plenty of residents take reliable public transport systems like the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Service (MARTA).

The average price for transport within the city is 3% higher than most American cities, and rates can start from $2.50 for single rides to $95 for a monthly pass. 

For personal drivers, you expect to pay roughly $69.77 for tire balance checks and about $3.20 for a gallon of gasoline. 

Note:

For less than $3, you can hop on the Atlanta Streetcar, which runs 2.7 miles through Downtown Atlanta, one of Georgia’s trendy spots.

Healthcare

Is Atlanta expensive? ATL’s public health sector is mildly pricey, so we can’t call it one of the best American cities for healthcare.

The costs of medical checkups and doctor visits are 7% higher than the national average. This is not crazy high, but it is enough for your bank balance to alert you.

Medical CareCost
Doctor’s Visit$133.65
Dentist Visit$115.31
Optometrist Visit$125.90
RX Drug$492.45
Veterinary Visit$62.31

Income and Job Opportunities

How much you earn determines the quality of life you can expect in the Big Peach. Atlanta’s living wage is slightly higher than the national average, making the city even more promising for a career.

  • Median Household Income: $77,655
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.7%
  • Poverty Rate: 18.5%

Atlanta’s job market is thriving, with the city being home to over 10 Fortune 500 companies. These include industry giants like Coca-Cola, UPS, Equifax, and Delta Airlines. Other major employers in the city include AT&T, Marriott International, and Cox Enterprises. This diverse range of companies offers ample opportunities for career growth and development.

Goods and Services

This is a friendly warning to regular shoppers and those looking for out-of-the-ordinary entertainment: Where you shop in Atlanta significantly affects your spending. Don’t give in to impulse buying! On average, clothing can cost anywhere from $27.32 for jeans, $121.73 for leather business shoes, and $36.08 for cool shirts.

Entertainment and other forms of service around the city vary. However, setting aside $100 – $150 monthly for entertainment is usually more than enough to have the most fun.

ServicesCost
Movie Ticket$15.20
Haircut$27.25
Beauty Salon$56.36
Dry Cleaning$13.72
Yoga Class$20.98

Education

Suppose you’re coming to ATL for education. The good news is that the average cost of living for students in Atlanta is slightly lower. 

You are most likely to pay less for college and university fees. However, this can vary depending on your school choice. Private schools cost much more than public ones.

For the 2023-2024 academic college year, the tuition fee was about $6,069 for in-state and $20,434 for out-of-state students. Moreover, the cost per credit hour is $204 for in-state residents and $890 for out-of-state students.

If you are a student looking to move to Atlanta, your best bet for a comfortable stay is between $13,881 and $14,829 for both on- and off-campus residents

Tax Rates

Before relocating to Atlanta, consider the amount of tax you would have to pay and the percentage of your earnings you would have to give up.

Unlike other states without an income tax, Atlanta’s rate ranges from 1.0% to 5.75%, following the state’s standard. However, only high-income earners pay the highest tax rate of 5.75%.

Atlanta’s sales tax is 8.9%, higher than the state average of 4.0%. 

Property taxes in the Big Peach are different from most cities. The 2022 mileage rate for ATL is 31.400, but it can differ depending on the county where your property lies. City property taxes combine millage rates, property value, and exemptions.

Note:

In Atlanta, the city calculates property taxes based on 40% of the home’s fair market value (FMV) rather than the entire assessed value.

Conclusion – Is Atlanta Expensive?

As stated earlier, the cost of living in Atlanta is higher than the national average. Still, it doesn’t make living in the city more challenging.

As a single individual, an average monthly salary of $3,500 can help you live a decent life in the city. We recommend reducing eating out, lowering expenses on outdoor entertainment, and lessening excess utilities.

Plan ahead, devise a budget, and ensure you stay aware of expenses! 

Good luck!

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