The construction crane, an elusive sight during the economic downturn in Atlanta, has begun to reappear. But instead of building the office high-rises or condo towers that dot the city’s skyline, many of the cranes are piecing together apartment towers as the metro rental market heats up. New apartment projects are slated across the city, dense developments often targeting the young and the affluent. They are being proposed from Midtown to Sandy Springs, from the edges of the Beltline to Buckhead’s busiest crossroads. Two towers are planned for the same busy Atlanta street and another one is proposed for a few blocks away.
The surge is fueled by a growing segment of the population that seeks to live in denser developments closer to work and recreation. But the growth spurt is raising fears that a new housing bubble is forming that could leave behind a glut of vacant units and lower rental rates when it bursts.
Daniel Corp.’s Steve Baile is among those who have raised concerns. His firm has a high-rise under construction in Midtown and another one under development in Buckhead. But he questioned whether the apartment market’s strong fundamentals — rising rents and solid occupancy rates — could sour with over-development.
“You can overbuild in a hurry,” he said, noting that many developers will build if they can get the financing regardless of whether the market can support the project.