Cost of housing exploding, even on the southside

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Image courtesy of Charleston's TheDigetal // Flickr


There's no hard and reliable data on how much the price of rent has increased in Milledgeville-Baldwin County in recent years, but there are plenty of anecdotes.

There was the $2,000 rental house in Carrington Woods from earlier this year, which offers several stunning views of nearby Leo Court...

Realtor.com


Two thousand dollars a month, of course, adds up to $24,000 per year, which is nearly as much as the yearly per capita income in Baldwin County ($26,934), according to the most recent Census data.

Apparently, not even the southside is immune. Roughly defined as everything south of Dairy Queen, north and east of the bypass and west of the Oconee River, the southside also is experiencing a rapid rise in rental prices. A home on Marion Street, located deep on the southside, currently is being listed online for $1,300 per month. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom house at 118 Marion Street comes equipped with a refrigerator.

Google maps


A $1,300 rental house in the middle of the southside would've seemed unfathomable a mere few years ago, as would $950 a month mobile homes on Harrisburg Road, located off of Allen Memorial Drive. Yes, a pair of mobile homes currently are listed online at $950 apiece. The addresses are 103 Harrisburg Road and 105 Harrisburg Road, respectively.

Google Maps


Louise Sallstrom, currently the executive director of Milledgeville Cares, has been volunteering around Milledgeville for more than 30 years.

"Housing is the worst problem we have in Milledgevlle. It's awful," she said. "When you have Georgia College students willing to pay upwards of $1,000 for a bedroom, which is happening now in some cases, there will be a trickle down effect.



Wanda Addeo is the executive director of Overview Inc. and is on the front lines of the runaway rent situation.

"I have been here for 13 years, and I've never seen it this bad. It's a pretty big issue right now, especially for lower income families," said Addeo, adding that her organization recently was awarded with an emergency federal grant to help with rental assistance.

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As of July 1, 2019, according to the Census, there were 20,725 "housing units" in Baldwin County, a combination of single family homes and apartments, according to the Census. The "owner-occupied" rate, meanwhile, was 59.4 percent, meaning that 40.6 percent of residents of Baldwin County were "renters," compared to a statewide average of 36 percent. In other words, Milledgeville-Baldwin County is more of a "rental town" compared to the statewide average. This can be seen in other college towns, as well. In Athens-Clarke County, for example, a whopping 59.5 percent of residents are renters, according to the most recent Census data.

However, that doesn't fully explain the problem, and it doesn't fully explain the more recent surge in rental prices. After all, Georgia College has has been around for more than 100 years, and it hasn't gotten any bigger lately. The in-person enrollment at the university has remained steady at somewhere between 5,500-6,000 students for the last several decades.

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