- Relatively cheap home prices and high per-night rental fees make Atlanta a prime choice for new real estate investors.
- Atlanta is a top destination city for both leisure travelers and business travelers.
- Atlanta’s world-class healthcare facilities draw medical travelers and their families from around the world.
- Besides the basic licensing fee and collection of taxes, there are few restrictions governing short-term rentals in Atlanta.
Atlanta is the newest city to join the short-term rental renaissance of 2021. Which is great news for Atlanta homeowners who want to ramp up revenue from existing rental properties, or make some side cash by renting rooms in properties they occupy. It’s also positive news for investors looking to purchase profit-generating properties for rental to tourists and business travelers. Plus, new licensing requirements, and closer attention by local authorities to noise complaints related to short-term rental properties, should come as welcome news for the many Atlanta residents whose concerns about “mega mansion parties” led the city to reconsider its STR regulations.
The Atlanta city council’s March vote allows homeowners to rent rooms or entire houses to guests for up to 30 days.To do so, owners have to apply for an annual license, pay a $150 license fee, and collect city hotel-motel taxes from guests. The 13-1 vote to allow short-term home and room rentals was roundly praised by STR giant Airbnb, which said it is “committed to being a long-term partner to the city of Atlanta,” and to working with the city to promote tourism. If this sounds like money-making music to your ears, here are four awesome additional reasons to own an Atlanta short-term rental home, unit or room.
1. Relatively cheap home prices and high per-night rental fees make Atlanta a prime choice for new real estate investors.
Atlanta is consistently cited as one of the most affordable major U.S. cities to buy residential and investment real estate. While the median price of a single-family home in metro Atlanta hit a high of $340,000 in March 2021 according to real-estate brokerage company Redfin, that price is still much lower than other similar urban centers in the country, including:
- Austin ($500,000)
- Denver ($515,000)
- Seattle ($750,00)
Meanwhile, real estate analytics firm Mashvisor puts the median price for a multi-family home in Atlanta at $534,923.
Looking at the rental side of things, Airbnb lists entire homes for rent in Atlanta’s trendy Cabbagetown, Buckhead and Peachtree neighborhoods during the city’s high seasons (spring and fall) for an average of $150 to $350 per night, for occupancies of four to six guests.
For private rooms in homes, which usually can accommodate one to two guests, nightly prices range from about $60 to nearly $200. These prices are expected to be significantly higher for dates corresponding with major Atlanta festivals, concerts and hot-ticket professional sports events.
2. Atlanta is a top destination city for both leisure travelers and business travelers.
With more than 13,000 tech companies based in metro Atlanta, and new firms launching every week, the city is one of the fastest-growing technology hubs in the country. The 2020 “Deloitte America Fast 500” list of the country’s fastest-growing public and private tech companies includes 24 metro Atlanta companies, compared to just nine Atlanta companies on the list 10 years ago. The city of Atlanta is also a dominant force in the biomedical and finance sectors. And in recent years, the city’s flourishing film and television production industry has brought in thousands of workers who require short-term accommodations year-round.
Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, the 1.5-million-square-foot Georgia World Congress Center is the world’s largest LEED-certified convention center, and an in-demand, centrally located space for important U.S. and global conferences and conventions. As COVID-related travel restrictions lift and businesses start holding in-person meetings and conferences once again (GWCC already has such events as the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting & Exposition, the North American Commercial Vehicle Show and the American Chemical Society Annual Conference on the books for 2021), business travel to Atlanta is slated to grow significantly over the next five years.
Of course, The Big Peach, as Atlanta is affectionately known, is also a major tourist destination. While the city’s tourism industry took a hit during the coronavirus pandemic, along with every major tourist destination across the globe, leisure travel is poised to bounce back big time. According to the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, the city’s hotel occupancy rates increased nearly 40% between 2010 and 2017. Looking toward the next seven years, the city expects to see its average 50 million annual visitors grow year after year after year. That’s no surprise, considering that Atlanta is home to:
- Five major professional sports teams (including the NFL’s Falcons, whose new Mercedes-Benz Stadium features edible landscaping!)
- Over 50 museums
- Nearly 340 parks
- More than 12,000 restaurants
- Many of the nation’s best indoor and outdoor music venues
Add to that the city’s fine climate, serene lakes, superb shopping and bustling nightlife scene, and you’ve got a destination tailor-made for visits from young professionals, families and retired leisure travelers alike.
Citing flexibility, features, location and price as top factors in opting for short-term rentals and vacation rentals over traditional hotels and motels, both business and leisure travelers are contributing to the sharp rise in STR bookings nationwide. These factors, combined with a continued government stimulus program and a sustained high consumer-savings rate make for a great short-term rental outlook. And Atlanta, with its new short-term rental ordinance, is ideally positioned to capitalize on this boom.
3. Atlanta’s world-class healthcare facilities draw medical travelers and their families from around the world.
Atlanta is home to some of the nation’s most technologically advanced medical facilities, including:
- Emory University Hospital
- Shepherd Center
- Grady Memorial Hospital
- Piedmont Healthcare System
- WellStar Health System
- Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
Research firm Healthgrades has given a five-star clinical rating to many of Atlanta’s hospitals, for areas of medicine from obstetrics to coronary care to neurosurgery. Atlanta’s Emory University is renowned for its teaching hospital, which is nationally ranked in 12 medical specialties, and provides services in spine surgery, orthopedic and gynecologic oncology, organ transplants, and stem cell transplants, among other areas.
With its breadth and quality of medical specialists and healthcare centers, Atlanta naturally attracts patients seeking the best possible outcomes. Depending on the specific treatment and recovery, patients traveling to Atlanta often must stay in the area for an extended period of time, either in the hospital or a rehabilitation facility. And, frequently, their spouses, partners or children will travel with them.
Short-term rentals offer these travelers a home-away-from-home environment that differs significantly from hotel stays. Guests can rest easier in a more expansive space, with the ability to cook meals, do laundry and work remotely, in comfort and privacy—both of which are valued at a premium when supporting a loved one through medical care.
Guests don’t have to worry about dressing up, interacting with strangers, dealing with expensive and restrictive parking, or being interrupted by housekeeping when trying to get much-needed rest. Short-term rental hosts can further cater to patients’ families by including helpful amenities in their properties, including gourmet coffee (for early mornings and late nights), bottled water (for drives to and from healthcare facilities), laundry detergent and fabric softener (to make washing clothes more convenient), and thoughtful comforts such as extra-plush towels or a nice bottle of wine.
Properties in Atlanta’s Druid Hills, Morningside-Lenox Park and Virginia Highland neighborhoods all offer close proximity and short drive times to Emory University Hospital. These areas are also popular with tourists, providing a well-balanced market for short-term rental investors. Located between Buckhead and Midtown, Atlanta’s Shepherd Center, specializing in spinal cord and brain injury treatment, is one of U.S. News & World Report’s top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the country. Families of patients receiving treatment at this Atlanta medical facility have many options in nearby short-term rentals, which also happen to be located in neighborhoods that are also top choices of leisure and business travelers.
Additional top-notch healthcare clinics and centers are located throughout Atlanta, including Piedmont Atlanta Hospital (located adjacent to Shepherd Center), Northside Hospital (with numerous different specialty facilities dotting the metro-Atlanta region), and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, with three hospital locations in the city.
4. Besides the basic licensing fee and collection of taxes, there are few restrictions governing short-term rentals in Atlanta.
While the new Atlanta ordinance requires owners to pay a fee for operating as a short-term rental, and requires that taxes be collected and remitted, it imposes few other restrictions on rental owners. The requirements it does impose include:
- Designating a short-term rental agent (the owner can act as the agent if they wish) to be available to handle on-site problems, receive and accept service of violation notices, monitor the rental unit for ordinance compliance, and post the short-term rental license number on online listings.
- Posting a legible copy of the short-term rental unit license within the unit, and including the contact information for the short-term rental agent, the unit’s maximum occupancy, and the maximum number of vehicles that may be parked at the unit.
But that’s pretty much it. Which means that the responsibility for vetting guests, maintaining the property, ensuring neighbors’ rights to a safe, quiet, pleasant neighborhood or building, and avoiding non-compliance fines, lies squarely with the owner and his or her designated agent. Here are three things you can do to fulfill that responsibility, and protect your Atlanta short-term rental investment:
- Use a vetting service that scours the internet for relevant past rental data on potential guests, and alerts you to any red flags, so you can make informed booking decisions.
- Install a privacy-safe noise-detection device designed to monitor decibel levels and gently notify guests if they’re being too loud, before things get out of hand.
- List your rental through one or more well-known short-term rental marketplace sites, which assist with targeting key guest audiences, marketing your rental, and securely collecting fees and taxes on your behalf.
You can find the full text of Atlanta’s new short-term rental ordinance here. Interested in finding out how easy it is to track rowdy behavior and excessive noise at your short-term rental in Atlanta from afar? Get all the information you need, right here!