If you’re itching for that city vibe, but you don’t want to pay the high price tag, living somewhere just outside of Atlanta might be one of your most affordable options. Of course there are some less expensive areas of other big cities, like Philadelphia or even Chicago, but let’s face it, Atlanta is way more affordable than either of these cities. Besides, it’s just a cool place to live.

 

Atlanta Suburbs

Source: City Clock Magazine via Flickr

Of course some parts of the Atlanta area are cooler than others, just like some are more affordable. Today we’re focusing on the latter. So, without further ado, here are the 10 most affordable Atlanta suburbs:

 

1. Morrow

2. Locust Grove

3. Conley

4. Barnesville

5. Centerville (tie)

6. Irondale (tie)

7. Forest Park

8. Thomaston

9. Redan

10. Panthersville

 

We came up with this list by looking at all of the largest places outside of Atlanta in terms of the following budget friendly criteria:

  • Cost of living
  • Median home value
  • Percentage of income spent on rent
  • Affordability ratio (the median home price divided by income)

After some serious number crunching, we had our list. Don’t worry, we’ll talk about our methodology in more detail at the end of the post, where we’ll also have a more complete table of the places we looked at. For now, though, let’s focus on our top 10.

1. Morrow

Morrow - Atlanta Suburbs

Source: Community Morrow via Facebook

Key Stats:

  • Cost of living: 90, compared to the Atlanta average of 104
  • Income spent on rent: 24.5 percent
  • Affordability ratio: 2.1

This little city in Clayton County is not your average suburb. Even though it’s small, with fewer than 7,000 residents, Morrow still has plenty going on. It’s home to Clayton State University, beautiful nature, a branch of the U.S. Archives, the main campus of the Georgia Archives, and of course, Spivey Hall, its famous performance venue. And if all of that isn’t enough for you, Atlanta is just a quick commute away. Really, the fact that you can actually afford to live here is just the cherry on top of this sundae.

2. Locust Grove

Locust Grove - Atlanta Suburbs

Source: Life in the Grove (Locust Grove, GA) via Facebook

Key Stats:

  • Cost of living: 91, compared to the Atlanta average of 104
  • Median home value: $101,300
  • Affordability ratio: 1.8

Here’s another small city that might be a good option for those looking forward to the excitement of Atlanta… and the peace and quiet of coming home. Speaking of home, the houses here range from beautiful single family homes to apartments and condos, but overall, the median home value is just $101,300. For those more interested in renting than buying, though, do know that Locust Grove is not necessarily your cheapest option. With a median income of $55,716, residents generally spend over 30 percent of their income on rent alone. Looks like it’s time to buy!

 

3. Conley

Conley - Atlanta Suburbs

Source: Greater Works Tabernacle via Facebook

Key Stats:

  • Cost of living: 87, compared to the Atlanta average of 104
  • Median home value: $68,000
  • Affordability ratio: 2.1

This community, also in Clayton County, is one of the least expensive places near Atlanta to buy a home. In fact, the median home price is a good $88,000 less than the median home price of Georgia. This, plus the median income of about $33,000, gives Conley residents one of the lowest home affordability ratios around. That being said, Conley isn’t the best place when it comes to renting a home. Residents generally spend about 37 percent of their income on rent here. Of course, with such a low cost of living, you might be able to swing it. Just count on spending more of your paycheck on rent than in our next place.

4. Barnesville

Barnesville - Atlanta Suburbs

Source: The Herald Gazette via Facebook

Key Stats:

  • Cost of living: 87, compared to the Atlanta average of 104
  • Median home value: $107,400
  • Income spent on rent: 24.2 percent

If you’re looking for a charming little community near Atlanta to rent a place, maybe while you’re saving up to buy, or maybe because you’re just passing through, Barnesville might just be the place for you. As far as charming goes—that’s certainly covered. It’s dotted with beautiful Victorian homes, antique stores, boutiques, and art, and yes, it was even once known as the “Buggy Capital of the World.” And as far as rent goes, it’s low here. Lower than most places in the area. Unfortunately, so is the median household income, which means that even though the home price here is lower than most places in Georgia, you might not be able to swing it.

5. Centerville

Centerville - Atlanta Suburbs

Source: Centerville Elementary School via Facebook

Key Stats:

  • Income spent on rent: 27.1 percent
  • Affordability ratio: 2.4

This family-friendly community is a good place outside of Atlanta’s hustle and bustle to put down roots. Not only are there good schools here, but you’ll also be able to afford housing, whether you’re looking to rent or buy. Yes, the median home price is $137,100, but when you consider the median income here is over $57,000, it really is quite affordable, plus, the overall cost of living is still lower than the Atlanta average.

 

6. Irondale

Irondale - Atlanta Suburbs

Source: Google Maps

Key Stats:

  • Cost of living: 90, compared to the Atlanta average of 104
  • Median home value: $87,700
  • Affordability ratio: 2.0

Here’s the good news about Irondale: A) It’s just 20 miles outside of downtown Atlanta, B) it’s about 20 times cheaper (okay, it’s actually 14 points lower than the average Atlanta cost of living), and C) even though the income here is lower than average, the home prices are too. It has the second lowest affordability ratio in the area. Of course if there’s good news, there also has to be some bad—at least for those who don’t want to buy a home here. If you’re looking to rent in Irondale, you’re looking at spending nearly 38 percent of your income on monthly payments alone.

 

7. Forest Park

Forest Park - Atlanta Suburbs

Source: Forest Park Recreation & Leisure Services via Facebook

Key Stats:

  • Cost of living: 87, compared to the Atlanta average of 104
  • Median home value: $66,300
  • Affordability ratio: 2.1

The median home price in Atlanta is nearly $220,000. Yes, you read that correctly, the homes in Atlanta, just a 20 minute drive north of Forest Park, are a good three times more expensive than those in its smaller neighbor. Now if that’s not reason enough for you to pack your bags and head to Forest Park, you should also know that the overall cost of living is markedly lower, not just than Atlanta’s, but the rest of the state. The only drawback seems to be that most people who rent here spend 40.8 percent of their income on rent alone. So… good thing the utilities here are so affordable!

8. Thomaston

Thomaston - Atlanta Suburbs

Source: Thomaston Happenings via Facebook

Key Stats:

  • Cost of living: 83, compared to the Atlanta average of 104
  • Median home value: $74,900
  • Although the median income is one of the lowest in the area, the cost of living is just an 83 compared to Georgia’s average of 95, or worse still, Atlanta’s average of 104. It’s particularly affordable when it comes to utilities, transportation, groceries, and housing.

     

    9. Redan

    Redan - Atlanta Suburbs
    Source: The Volunteer Tree via Facebook
    Key Stats:
    • Median home value: $102,700
    • Affordability ratio: 2.3
    This community in DeKalb County is a peach of a place to buy your first home outside of Atlanta. Not only is the median home price less than half that of Atlanta’s, but with a median income of $44,540, you should actually be able to afford it! The overall cost of living here is about on par with most of the state—a 94 compared to Georgia’s average of 95. The goods and services, groceries, and transportation are all a bit higher than average, but everything else—that’s housing, healthcare, and utilities—are all equally expensive or less expensive than the Georgia average.

     

    10. Panthersville

    Panthersville - Atlanta Suburbs
    Source: Keizers via Wikimedia Commons
    Key Stats:
    • Cost of living: 91, compared to the Atlanta average of 104
    • Median home value: $88,800
    With a median income of just over $32,500, Panthersville residents may not make as much as those in, say, Milton, but they’re at least right about average for the Atlanta area. This, plus a lower than average median home price equals one great place to buy a home. You’ll save so much money on day to day expenses here, too, you might even be able to afford renting a place in Panthersville—which ordinarily, is pretty expensive.

     

    More Bang for Your Buck in the ‘Burbs

    Suburbs can get a bad wrap, we know. But if you’re living close to all the excitement that Atlanta has to offer, but still paying prices like these? Well, we think the commute is probably worth the savings. If you’re interested in moving to the Atlanta area, or, any area at all, really, just get in touch. Tell us where and how much and we’ll take it from there.

    Our Methodology

    To create this list we started out by gathering up all of the places near Atlanta with populations of 5,000 people or more. We then used sources like the U.S. Census and AreaVibes to research our 75 places in terms of these money-saving criteria:
    • Cost of living
    • Median home value
    • Percentage of income spent on rent
    • Affordability ratio (the median home price divided by income ratio)
    Next, we ranked all of our places with scores from one to 75 in each category. We averaged these out into one overall Big Deal Score for each place, and the 10 lowest scores went to our 10 most affordable places. Most Affordable Atlanta Suburbs Feature Image Source: Kay Gaensler via Flickr If you live in the Atlanta area, feel free to comment below. What’s your favorite part of the city?