As they began planning their future together, Ashley Brown and her fiance, Aaron Shuman, concluded that they could no longer remain in Los Angeles because it was getting much too expensive.
“Our rent in L.A. was $1,500 for a tiny, 650-square-foot apartment with no amenities,” said Brown, 29, a native New Yorker, actress and New York University graduate. She and Shuman, a 28-year-old musician, began looking at Austin, Texas; Detroit; Portland, Ore.; and Columbus, Ohio, before settling on Atlanta.
“There’s a great arts community here (in Atlanta), and it’s a growing city with lots of entrepreneurs,” said Brown, who is now working several jobs and plans to open a business. Also, the dollar stretches much further in their new city, giving them breathing room. “We pay $1,200 a month for more than double the space, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and everything brand-new,” she said.
Brown and Shuman are part of a wave of people migrating from coastal cities to “secondary” cities — drawn by a lower cost of living, lighter tax burden, job growth and a better chance to buy a home they can afford.
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