A national apartment guide said Augusta-Richmond County is the second-most affordable place to live in the nation.
Apartment Guide compiled a “Top 10 Most Budget-Friendly Metros” list by looking at metropolitan areas with the lowest average rent prices in its inventory and the lowest cost of living. Augusta was topped only by Tulsa, Okla., on the list and was followed by Memphis, Tenn., Columbus, Ohio, and Birmingham, Ala.
“Any time you receive a national recognition like this, to be ranked No. 2 is a good thing for the city,” Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver said. “I think it speaks to why so many businesses and new residents are locating to the area, part of which is our affordability. We’ve got a very affordable lifestyle along with a great quality of life, so those things help us recruit new businesses on a regular basis.”
Charon Lamar, the president of the Apartment Association of Greater Augusta, said Augusta has a plethora of both high-end and affordable, tax-credit housing communities.
“There’s a market for everybody here, and it’s just depending on their lifestyle and how they want to live it,” said Lamar, describing Augusta as constantly growing and a great place to live.
The designation, however, also reflected economic hardships faced by some metro residents, said Lamar, who is a property manager for Olde Town Apartments, where rent is $400 for a one-bedroom, one-bathroom unit.
“Unfortunately, the wages aren’t that high,” she said. “The median income is not that great, and that’s going to keep it affordable as well.”
For the study, Apartment Guide determined which cities had the lowest cost of living based on The Council For Community and Economic Research’s third quarter 2013 Cost of Living Index. The report was done for residents planning to move in 2014, according to company representatives.
Apartment Guide is a division of RentPath Inc. and is headquartered in Norcross, Ga.