Atlanta is fourth sickest housing market

Atlanta has the nation’s fourth sickest housing market among the country’s largest 75 metro areas, according to a new analysis.

Tucson had the worst market, followed by Indianapolis and Memphis, according to the 24/7 Wall St. website. It pulled Census data on the 75 largest metro areas and ranked the cities with the highest overall vacancy rates for both homeowner vacancy and rental vacancy for the second quarter of 2011.

Atlanta had a homeowner vacancy rate of 5.4 percent and a rental vacancy rate of 11.8 percent, the website said.

“The city, which had a significant influx of new residents, particularly from the northeast, has been hit hard,” the website said, citing our higher than average unemployment rate.

Ten Sickest Housing Markets

1. Tucson

2. Indianapolis

3. Memphis

4. Atlanta

5. Baton Rouge

6. Dayton

7. Detroit

8. Kansas City

9. St Louis

10. Oklahoma City

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

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98 comments Add your comment


August 4th, 2011
9:40 am

Seems like the only top tens we’re ever in are for teenage pregnancy, high unemployment and low SAT scores. Atlanta seems to be a little bit rotten.

A Grover

August 4th, 2011
10:06 am



August 4th, 2011
10:10 am

Odd, because I thought Indy had been doing well.


August 4th, 2011
10:18 am

Detroit is 7 and atlanta is five. It’s worse than we thought people!


August 4th, 2011
10:20 am

The problem with Bill Clinton and then HEIGHTEN by Barney Frank, that everyone should be able to own a home no matter what their credit was. WELL the poor, minority folks that some that never paid anyone on time were able to buy a house. Well look at the mess we are in now.


August 4th, 2011
10:31 am

It was not the just the minority poor who could not afford a house anyway that caused this. I know about a half dozen upper middle class people who bought an extra house or two in order to flip it and when the market collapsed they just said screw it and walked away. Most of the vacant homes in my neighborhood were owned by real estate speculators who decided to take the loss.


August 4th, 2011
10:37 am

The entire metro region became so focused on building houses and only houses and forgot about businesses and manufacturing …

We overbuilt with houses … especially in the burbs … now not enough buyers


August 4th, 2011
10:40 am

Henry, seems all these housing markets are in locations that can only be termed “less than desirable”. There is considerable downside risk, as many homes in these markets will simply be abandoned. In fact, it is happening now.

One wonders when people will learn that these places all have horrible weather.
Sun Belt? Sweat Band is a better term, except do not ignore the vicious winters of such cities as Atlanta and Detroit. Bad schools, bad air, bad climate, Nascar, pit bull, tattoo, gangbanger cultures.

What to do?


August 4th, 2011
10:42 am

According to a neighbor who is selling, the market value of our homes is less than 50% of what we paid for them.


August 4th, 2011
10:44 am

i agree FS. the minority market was too small to cause a considerable mess like this anyway. the majority of the minority continued to rent.

Bill Thomas

August 4th, 2011
10:46 am


August 4th, 2011
10:48 am

My in-town neighborhood seems to be doing just fine. I agree with FS, speculators drove the prices up and everybody concentrated on building homes as quick and cheap as possible.


August 4th, 2011
10:52 am

Yes, the Atlanta real estate market is dead! But the pseudo CEO of DeKalb County, Dick Stogner, pushed through a tax increase to insure the 900 unnecessary county jobs will not be abolished as recommended by a Georgia State study commission. Saving county and city jobs is what Obama wants, and Stogner is one of Obama’s willing puppets.


August 4th, 2011
10:52 am

i would love to buy (larger) but i can’t sell. vicious cycle.

The Real Smarty

August 4th, 2011
10:57 am

Yes Smarty, we have so many poor minorities in Atlanta that got houses they are the cause of our mess. If you truly believe this statement Smarty then you are as equally stupid as you are ignorant.

@FS I know a lot of people who have just walked away as well. I have even offered them to attempt to rent out the homes they got from borrowing more than they could afford but they simply choose to walk away. I guess they feel no threat….in 7-10 years, they can start all over again.

Just sayin

August 4th, 2011
10:58 am

the white minority has left and the gangbangers shot the light out….tic….tic….tic…..tic, the City of Atlanta, Fulton and DeKalb Commissions are TOTALLY in denial, the APS is a cess pool…….any wonder Atlanta isn’t number one in this category?

don abernethy

August 4th, 2011
11:01 am

I have been a home builder out of work now for 4 years and do not see any time in the future when new houses will be needed. This is the worst housing market I have seen in my 40 years of building. It is just a matter of time before the US economy is going to collapse and it will be worst than the depression in the thirties. I do not know anyway to prepare for it except to pray for the Lord to get us through it.


August 4th, 2011
11:02 am

We’re worse than Detroit??? That’s a red flag, everyone…

Common Sense?!

August 4th, 2011
11:09 am

we all are guilty…when salaries are 6-7 digits for sports figures, entertainers and others who add minimum value to society other than entertainment it brings limited worth to growth and development.

Barney Frank

August 4th, 2011
11:12 am

My homies needed a free place to stay…..who cares if they pay their bills. The country “owes” them.

Hasta luego ATL

August 4th, 2011
11:12 am

ATL is free falling in so many ways. Catch the Atlanta Forward special reports in the AJC and WSB TV and I think they will show how desperate things are here. I have unemployed 2 years and heading to hopefully greener pastures. My new city (which is featured in the report) has few of blaring issues that Atlanta faces and in fact they are building new infrastructure and amenities to attract new companies and create jobs. I hope it works. I loved Atlanta when I came here some 20 years ago. She has fallen and I am not sure she can get up! Hasta luego, Atlanta!


August 4th, 2011
11:19 am

no God, no peace. know God, know peace.


August 4th, 2011
11:22 am

Hasta Luego ATL is that city Indianapolis? Cause i live here and its awsome. I find it funny this report mentions Indy. Indy doesn’t have a sick housing market it has an affordable one actually one of the most affordable Housing Markets in America. Also since Indiana is 6th in the nation for business climate you can expect new jobs to come too :)


August 4th, 2011
11:23 am

also ill add what do you mean by sickest? cause Indy sure isn’t sick as i said above.


August 4th, 2011
11:27 am

I am not surprised by the the numbers. We have experienced a lot of losses due to the decline in the home market, jobs, etc. We are putting our faith in God and looking to explore our options in a city not on the list, thank God! In less than 20 days, we are out of here! It was good when it was good Atlanta, but we have to say goodbye, until we meet again!!!

Another Voice

August 4th, 2011
11:46 am

Well…we were in bad shape!!! then we ran a bunch of people out of the state some… who were working and paying for their homes with our brilliant Immigration law and we forced more foreclosures and lower property values on ourselves. Just ask Gwinnett County!!! Real Einsteins over there…


August 4th, 2011
11:51 am

Atlanta has some decent neighborhoods that are doing pretty well. Midtown and Decatur are two that come to mind.
All of this is a big adjustment. The economy from 2000 to 2008 was built on quicksand. Atlanta did not build a green economy or an information economy…it was based upon a “sprawl” economy. Can’t keep endlessly building and expect it to last. The focus is now turning inward. The city core is actually getting nicer.


August 4th, 2011
12:00 pm

Atlanta used to be such an awesom city to live in. Too much crime, traffic unemployment, pan handling and now the housing crisis. I’d get out of here if i could, but my mortgage is underwater! Ah, what this city could have been with even mediocre leadership. And don’t get me started about the new panhandler express trolley to no where!!!!! Now Atlanta has it’s own bridge to nowhere.


August 4th, 2011
12:02 pm

That is because they are still giving out loans like salted peanuts. Driving around my neighborhood I see new “zero down” signs. Did we not learn anyhting? And lets not even mention all the houses people left sitting in foreclosure so they could move in to the new “21st century communes”. Half the houses in my county look like they have at least 3 families in them, and none of them look they should have ever been approved for a loan.

Midtown resident

August 4th, 2011
12:10 pm

Atlanta used to be such an awsome place to live. I can’t wait to get out of this cess pool.


August 4th, 2011
12:12 pm

I am reading this and pulling the hairs off my chest – want to guess which is less painful?
So many new high-rise condo-minimum “homes” built in Atlanta since 2002 that were built for entry level, single, no kid home buyers. Restaurants that try to hard to be New York chic. Developers that want to bring the death of Buckhead and build the Rodeo Drive of Atlanta? People need to forget about making Atlanta “better” and fix the existing problems first. Infratructure that is crumbling such as 10th St west of midtown, serious hydraulic ground effect under there, going to become a huge sinkhole in the near future, water shortages but our government approves more high-density building permits then tell people NOT to use any water? Atlanta was great until someone decided that we needed to make improvements. Just my opinion.
I am not saying that growth should be thwarted at all cost, but should be done in a reasonable, sustainable pace. Build for the existing demand, NOT for the perceived future. But until our flooded housing market is reduced I dont see much in the way of better development.
Even Donald Trump walked away from Atlanta development and that man will toss up a teepee anywhere.


August 4th, 2011
12:14 pm

Hey Midtowner, have a home you want to rent? LOL


August 4th, 2011
12:24 pm

Atlanta was a giant ponzi scheme that burst in 2008. There was no there, here except for constructing housing that nobody can now afford. It is a very sad place. Seattle has its tech. Dallas and Houston have energy. Denver has green industries. Atlanta has empty houses in weed-strewn subdivisions.


August 4th, 2011
12:24 pm

I remember in the 70’s Atlanta was named one of the best cities in America for quality of life…a city to move to for low cost of living ..decent schools..and employment. At that time Gwinnett County was the fastest growing county in the nation . Now look at Gwinnett and Atanta. Seems to me the politicians took advantage of all that potential and squandered it for the moment with little foresight for the future.
Water…Infrastructure….Housing….Jobs….YUCK WHAT A MESS!!!!

to Cletus

August 4th, 2011
12:27 pm

The top ten lists you missed-number of lying teachers, murder rate..

Priviledge not A Right

August 4th, 2011
12:39 pm

The Gov’t establishing a mentality that home ownership is A Right and not a priviledge enabled sooo many people to get loans/homes they had NO BUSINESS EVER being in. FACT!

I was a State Liscensed Real Property Appraiser (aka RE Appraiser), and I saw this bubble-burst long before it hit us.

Take this example of an appraisal I did to prove my point about “right & priviledge” misconception:
It was for a 2-bed 2-bath 1200 sq ft brand new condo in the beautiful bldg on Peachtree directly across from Crawford Long Hospital. The sale price was $325,000. The contract stated the buyer was only qualified for $155,000, with TAD picking up the remaining $170,000. TAD was an “genius” concept/District (Tax Allocation District) setup to “allow buyers who couldn’t qualify/afford to live in the propery the opportunity to live in the property”. And this wasn’t the only property in ATL that participated in TAD.

So people who have no business being in a certain neighborhood/condo comm are allowed in? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where the neighborhood is headed!

Uncle Billy

August 4th, 2011
1:08 pm

In 2002 Roy Barnes persuaded the General Assembly to enact a predatory lending bill which outlawed most of the really abusive practices in the mortgage business. He lost to Sonny Perdue that Fall, Republicans took control of the Georgia Senate and made major gains in the House. In 2003 the Act was gutted and Georgia became home to some of the most abusive mortgage lending practices in the US. Even Texas has better protections for consumers than Georgia.


August 4th, 2011
1:28 pm

LOL, let’s move everybody into a house, we’ll worry about who can afford it and the resulting bad investments later. Frank/Dodd easy loans, plus no SEC oversight by both Clinton and Bush admins, and here we are.
Think of all the people who’ve lost equity in their homes–which were the main middle class investment instrument. More important, think of all the bankers and real estate crooks who are not locked up but instead walking the streets unpunished.
We’d have a paradise if we could just flush all the hoods, dishonest people, and crooks down the toilet…


August 4th, 2011
1:33 pm

Its not just ATL folks…Georgia as a whole sucks! There are no jobs here and the governor has no clue that his state is going down the crapper.


August 4th, 2011
1:39 pm

Ed: Good point……”CEO of DeKalb County, Dick Stogner, pushed through a tax increase to insure the 900 unnecessary county jobs will not be abolished as recommended by a Georgia State study commission”…….And doesn’t that apply to only home worth 150K and up ??? I would love to see how they “conveniently carved” that line out on a “demographics scale…..i.e. income, Race, ethnicity……it probably looks like that “tapeworm” district they have in the “Fulton County of Plunder and Loot”.

Hey here’s one idea…..Stop picking up Garbage 4 days a week ?

And don’t even get me started on Dodd, B. Frank, Reid, Cruella (Pelosi),….and there Mandate that anyone with a faint heartbeat should own a home…..Wth ? Then, Even when presented with their taped diatribe on “youtube” in the Capital of their stance stanch, remarks, and vote……they still deny. I say we “vote” to have an Amendment that they all be put (start with 25, only so many Egos can fit on an island) on a “Survivor Show”…..Can you imagine the ratings ???

Sooooooo many need to be Voted out, even many Repubs……


August 4th, 2011
1:40 pm

breaking news:

God’s ‘housing market’ is solid, firm and will never crash, great investment and pays unmatched dividends… room for all too!

no matter what the Atl’s (and everyone elses) mess looks like. it will get worse so invest in a ‘house’ that has a foundaiton of faith.

i left a decent living because the corporation was getting in way of my marriage, family, personal life, etc. i have learned how to do ‘more’ for whats important (for family) by doing less for the company. we are working on half the finances, being supernaturally blessed by not missing meals nor behind on bills (no bankroll stashed here). we’ve made decisions based on faith and are way better off. there is so much more provision now, couldn’t see that before, amazing. not easy but one day at a time. God makes promise of provision.

a decent house doesn’t necessarily mean it is a good home anyway. don’t get emotionally attached to a house nor be afraid it depreciating. nothing is going to get better as we’d like. as a whole we’ve acquried too much of and too many things and lifestyles that have led us away from God are leading to our demise. proves that all this is temporal. here today, gone tomorrow. blessings do come in disguise.

real success and prosperity is rooted in faith first. hat’s off to all making hard decisions, difficult choices, making resolve that there is better. with God all things are possible. we can still achieve the success we long for but must do an ‘about face’ and change in direction of our thinking. it won’t look like what we want it to but we will be better off.

peace to all!


August 4th, 2011
1:42 pm

Atlanta just sucks. Housing market, schools, weather, crime, taxes, traffic, more hood rats than you can shake a stick at, ghetto people EVERYWHERE. The list goes ON and ON! Seriously Atlanta….WAKE UP….this town sucks! I for one, am going to leave this hell hole to the African’s who seem hell bent on turning the entire city into one big GHETTO!!!


August 4th, 2011
1:43 pm

appraisers have dirty hands as well in this fiasco, so please….


August 4th, 2011
1:45 pm

Jeremy: Here, here……keep the faith Brother : )


August 4th, 2011
1:51 pm

The stimulus is working! The rising tide is lifting all ships.

Just look at the S&P 500 and unemployment rate and you will see what a great job I am doing! Hope and Change for America!


August 4th, 2011
1:52 pm

Moving to Atl-region seemed like the best decision of my life, all those years ago. It seemed to have everthing and then some. Too bad, it was just a flash in pan. Too bad, it is now a ghost town. I look back and think about what could have been if it has not fell apart. Then I think that it was never really real anyway and that I was beyond dumb to chase after fools gold. Coming to the Alt was the worst decision of my life. There is a reason why it fell off of a cliff. While it offers cheap rents and housing compared to many other regions, those other regions are worth the extra costs and offer more quality jobs. I miss paying 2000 dollars a month for a small apartment, up North. Sure, I could rent a mansion for that here, but what is that house surrounding by–a broken state. I thought I was moving to the future, but ATL can’t escape its past. There are simply too many other cities that offer so much more–for real. I will never again move to any place because I think it will have a great future. I am not a speculator, but it was exciting to move to the ATL because of the promise it once showed. However, it makes more sense to move somewhere that is already great than to gamble on a city that never quite made it.

Eric Pepper

August 4th, 2011
1:55 pm

The crisis started with the sub-prime mortgages and were a DIRECT result of the government’s belief that home ownership was good for all. As the economy has continued to tank, foreclosures have spread owners who were, at the time, good credit risks. I am tired of the old saw that it is all mortgage lender’s fault. Nobody held a gun to anyone’s head at the closing table forcing them into a purchase or refinance. As for the adjustible rate (ARM); if you have an ARM from 5 or more years, your rate dropped. The only ARMs whose payment went up were Interest Only for the first few years. The people who had this were renters, not owners.
That said, there is a silver lining to low home prices. These extra low prices, combined with historically low rates means affordability is at the highest level in our lifetimes. If you are a 1st time buyer and you have steady employment, now is the best time to buy.


August 4th, 2011
1:57 pm

I don’t buy it…Metro Atlanta may have a lot of vacancies but they are all in concentrated areas. The intown market may not be what it once was, but it certainly isn’t apocalyptic. Homes in my area (Brookhaven) are starting to sell at a good pace. They are priced right and there is demand. The same with rentals. Rentals that sat vacant for months are now getting leased in the first week.

But yeah, an empty subdivision out near Power Springs, which unfortunately is part of “Metro Atlanta”, will never recover.

Concerned Atlanta Native

August 4th, 2011
1:58 pm

Everyone seems to be doing alot of complaining and finger pointing. Here’s my question: Do you complainers have a job? Pay your bills on time? Do all of you have good standing with your creditors? Did you just “walk away” from the financial burden you brought upon yourself? Sounds like a bunch of people who think it’s easier to give up than buckle down and take control of the situation. Life is what YOU make of it, not what others hand out.


August 4th, 2011
1:59 pm

Priviledge not A Right: TAD’s were set up to spur development in areas that were struggling. That project was developed in the Westside TAD, which required developers to sell a small percentage of units to people making 80% or less of AMI. In return, the developer receives a lump sum up front to help fund construction. The idea is to get the private sector to build housing where downtown employess could live. Thinking that someone who could afford a $165K loan is bringing down a neighborhood… weird.