Georgia has quite a lot to offer its residents. For example, the state has reasonable home prices, as well as rents that come in below the national median. On the other hand, utility bills in Georgia fall within the top 10 most expensive in the U.S. Of course, your cost of living will depend in part on the city you choose to live in, but there are some significant statewide trends, too.
Housing Costs in Georgia
According to NeighborhoodScout, less than 17% of the homes in Georgia have a value above $385,196. So it should come as no surprise that the statewide median home value is $180,679. In Atlanta, the state’s largest city, the median home value is nearly $290,000, though.
Home appreciation rates have shown sizable growth in Georgia over the last five year especially. NeighborhoodScout data indicates that from 2013 to 2018, home’s increased in value by 7% annually. If you look at just 2017 to 2018, the rate slides up to 8.23%.
On a state level, Georgia’s median rents are quite a bit cheaper than the rest of America. But if you were to rent a one bedroom apartment in Atlanta, you’ll pay a median rent of $1,036, according to Apartment List’s 2019 report. For a two bedroom apartment, that number jumps to $1,197. In turn, the city is $89 above the national median for one bedrooms and $22 higher than the two bedroom median.
According to a 2017 report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average monthly energy bill in Georgia is $126.38. That’s $14.71 above the national average of $111.67.
Georgia’s average monthly utility costs put the Peach State in the middle of the pack relative to its neighbors. The Georgia average is higher than Tennessee ($123.30), but lower than South Carolina ($140.80) and Alabama ($142.55). Aside from Hawaii ($149.33), South Carolina and Alabama have the highest energy bills in the country.
Prices for groceries in Georgia are slightly below the national average. The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center’s 2018 cost of living analysis gives the cost of groceries in Georgia a score of 97.7, compared to the national average of 100. Index scores on grocery prices in the 50 states range from 91.4 in Mississippi to 124.2 in Hawaii.
According to Numbeo.com (May 2019), a person will spend $312.65 a month on food in Atlanta. In Macon, that number shrinks to $288.46. Either way, each of these estimates come in beneath the $323.72 U.S. average.
Georgia is a state where driving is common. Traffic in the Atlanta metro area is notoriously bad. A 2018 study by EducatedDriver.org shows that Atlanta residents commute for an average of 62 minutes per round trip. It goes on to show that if you began working at 18 years old, you’d lose 484 total days to commuting in the city.
According to GasBuddy (May 2019), the average price of a gallon of gas in Georgia is just $2.72. That places it as the 15th lowest price in the U.S. Insure.com’s data from 2019 indicates that the state has the 11th highest average annual car insurance premium in the nation at $1,777. That works out to $148 a month.
Georgia has a progressive income tax system. Rates range from 1% to 6%, with six tax brackets in total. Any single filer with income over $7,000 will pay that 6% rate.
As for property taxes, they’re on the low side in Georgia. The median annual real estate tax payment in Georgia is around $800 less than the national average, at $1,413. Property tax rates vary by county, with a range from 0.45% to 1.66%.
There are plenty of great places to get a college education in Georgia. Prices vary widely, though, depending on whether the institution is public or private. Here are a few examples:
- University of Georgia (2019-2020, per semester): $13,725 (in-state)/$23,568 (out-of-state)
- Georgia Southern University (2018-2019, per semester): $9,341 (in-state)/$16,082 (out-of-state)
- Georgia State University (2018-2019, per semester): $5,429 (in-state)/$14,716 (out-of-state)
Miscellaneous Cost of Living Facts
According to Statista.com, the average ticket price to see the Atlanta Falcons play professional football is $104.08 for 2018. If that’s too steep for you, you can catch a Braves baseball game for just $31.71. Basketball fans can see the Hawks for an average price of $36.82 (2015/2016).
If you prefer history to sports, you can visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site free of charge.
Next Steps for a Big Move
- There are few things more financially daunting then moving to a brand new area. To keep your finances in order, you might consider working with a financial advisor. It can be difficult to find an advisor you trust, but SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool can aid you in finding one. Your answers to our short questionnaire will outline what your needs are. You’ll then be paired with the advisors that fit those needs the best. For further insight, SmartAsset also has an overview of the top financial advisor firms in Atlanta.
- When most people pick a bank to deposit their money with, they tend to stick with them for an extended period of time. When you move to a new state, though, you’ll likely be forced into joining forces with a different bank. Here are some of your local options in Georgia: South Georgia Banking Company, The Heritage Bank, BankSouth, Northeast Georgia Bank and Southcrest Bank.
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