For decades Atlanta was a market of constant growth, pulling in families from all over the South as well as city-slickers from up North. The population grew close to 4 percent every year, with jobs to match - many of them in the high-paying manufacturing sector. Real estate investments could hardly go wrong, home builders could hardly keep up.
Today's Atlanta is different, with slower growth, a service economy, and a pile of foreclosures from heavy sub-prime mortgage lending. Some parts of the area are now growing well while others just creep along. Investors have to choose the sub-market and the type of investment that's right for them. Fortunately, the low level of construction in recent years will give landlords the upper hand for a while. And the jobs being created, most importantly in business services, healthcare, hotels and retail - are the kinds of jobs that encourage renting.