The title is a quotation from @Jonnybird‘s post, which was a response to @ConnorSen‘s post about Avalon, the new, huge development that cut the ribbon last week in Alpharetta. But Jon’s wrong about that “one reason”. Sorry, JB, love you long time, but there are more than a few reasons that “millennials” will leave in-town living. How do I know this? Because I’ve been there and done that, and still have the T-shirts and rental house to go along with it.
Don’t get me wrong here: living in town is very fun, very convenient, and there’s never a dull moment. We lived in what’s now called “Westside” for 9 years, and really loved it, so much so that we rented our home out instead of selling it, on the off-chance that we’d want to move back some day. So this is no slight against in-town living. Below are the reasons we moved from 30318 to 30075 (Roswell).
- Schools – This was our number one reason for moving, so John was right about this reason. City of Atlanta Schools are horrible, as evidenced by the unbelievable trial going on right now about teachers and administrators promoting cheating on standardized tests so their schools wouldn’t appear to be so horrible. Until just recently, Georgia’s schools have always been in the lower 5 school systems in the country, and Atlanta (read “in-town”) schools are the worst of the worst. That alone is enough reason for any young couple to “flock to the country”, or Roswell or Alpharetta.
- Crime – There was a season in our old neighborhood when there was a break-in every single day for more than 2 months. We hired private security – on top of the lovely HOA fees – and the problem is mostly squelched, but that’s just our little streets. “Mom, can I ride my bike to the store?” Uh, not a chance.
- Taxes – My property taxes in Roswell – still part of Fulton County – are less than half of what they are in the City of Atlanta. This year, my property taxes in Roswell went down. Our property taxes in the City of Atlanta went up. These property taxes add nearly 50% to the mortgage payment. Property taxes go mostly for public schools. In City of Atlanta, that means you pay the highest taxes for the worst schools. Doesn’t add up.
- Traffic – Out here in “the country”, I can avoid traffic. In town, you are the traffic.
So, if you’re an “affluent” millennial, you can afford $20k/year for private schools, ridiculous property taxes, private security, and the stress of knowing that, as soon as you pull out of your driveway, you will be in traffic. Or can you? Millennials are very different from previous generations, mainly that they’ve never known life without smart phones or email or Google, but they are just like every other generation before them in that they want to raise their kids in good schools in good neighborhoods for a reasonable price. There’s simply more of that outside the City of Atlanta. When Millennials start their families, most of them will move OTP. They might not flock to the country, but they will move OTP, where there’s now gigabit fiber to every door.