According to the most recent “Emerging Trends in Real Estate” market report by PwC and the Urban Land Institute (ULI), Atlanta ranked 11th out of the 80 U.S. markets to watch in overall real estate prospects for 2021.  As part of the “Super Sun Belt”, markets in the Southeast are still affordable for businesses and residents, even while powerhouse economics like Atlanta have attracted – and will continue to attract – a wide range of businesses.  With 16 percent of the “Emerging Trends” universes population, the Super Sun Belt markets will generate 28 percent of its new jobs between now and 2025.  Focus group participants provided the following insights: “Atlanta has the third-highest percentage of college-educated workers in the U.S. and the highest concentration of colleges and universities in the Southeast.”

Atlanta has emerged as a budding startup hub with a list of newly minted unicorns and growing venture capital interest in recent years.  The city’s allure has even attracted the likes of home retail giant AirBnB, which recently decided to locate its East Coast engineering hub there.  The city offers a strong pipeline of talent from Georgia Tech and other area universities at comparatively lower salaries.  Atlanta’s wealth of engineering talent played a major factor in AirBnB’s decision to place a hub there.

According to a recent report by NAI Brannon Goddard, Atlanta’s office market has weathered the coronavirus storm better than most markets so far.  Georgia’s capital has landed big deals from Microsoft, Deluxe Corp., and Mailchimp since the pandemic.  Atlanta is one of the few cities where trailing 12-month net absorption is still positive.  And though rent growth has cooled, annual growth remains positive and is outperforming the national benchmark. Long-term, the region’s highly educated workforce, lower rents than core coastal cities and relatively affordable cost of living should continue to attract brand-name office tenants.

According to Cushman & Wakefield’s recent Q4 2020 “Marketbeat Atlanta” office report, whereas the global situation regarding COVID-19 remains fluid, the Atlanta economy has made significant progress toward recovery.  After peaking in April 2020 at 12.7%, the unemployment rate dropped to 5.4% in Q4 2020, well below the U.S. rate.  Office-using employment, the strongest indicator of office real estate demand, also continued to outperform the national recovery.  Since reaching its low point in Q2 2020, MetroAtlanta has regained 38,790 jobs-nearly 57% of those lost following the onset of COVID-19.  Office-using employment in Atlanta is anticipated to return to 2019 levels by Q2 2022 – three quarters faster than the U.S.

Atlanta has a growing economy that is 8th in the nation for GDP and is home to a wide variety of businesses that includes Fortune 500 companies.  The relocation of payment processing giant NCR is expected to bring more than 3,500 jobs to the metro Atlanta region.  500 people move to Atlanta every day!  Two million more people are expected by 2030.  Atlanta’s population has grown by over 14 percent in the last decade.  Atlanta has shown promising population growth and employment, which are two signs of a healthy real estate market.