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AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Atlanta to future mayor: the rent is too darn high

Want proof that Atlanta's affordable housing crisis is causing real pain? Consider the latest poll on the city's mayoral race.

The WXIA-TV survey shows that 56 percent of respondents have "a lot" of concerns about the cost of housing in Atlanta. This is a noteworthy development for a city known as an affordable place to live.

The numbers were highest among respondents ages 18 to 34, 67 percent of whom said they had "a lot" of concerns about housing costs, the poll found.

Such worries cross party lines. Sixty four percent of  "very conservative" respondents and 65 percent of "very liberal" respondents gave this response.

Residents have good reason to be alarmed. Along the Beltline, rents have risen 59 percent to $1,629 per month, the AJC reported in a recent investigation.  Developers there and across the city are building luxury homes almost exclusively, and even high-paid professionals are being displaced from neighborhoods near the Beltline. A two-bedroom condo unit built with Beltline affordable housing dollars sold earlier this year for $340,000, even though the nearby segment of the trail has yet to be built.

How the crisis will impact the mayor's race remains unclear. According to the poll, housing affordability came in third behind crime and education as the most important issue in the race.


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