Every week, we ask an Atlanta real estate professional for their thoughts on the top trends in Atlanta real estate.
This week, we talked with Troy Stowe, a top-producing agent with Beacham & Company. One of Atlanta’s most successful agents, Troy’s 2012 sales volume totaled $19 million in sales; he has sold more than $300 million in his career, and holds the record for the highest sale in Atlanta real estate history with “Le Reve,” a 50,000-square-foot estate that sold for $12 million. Troy is also passionate about volunteering, and as a member of the North Point Community Church, he serves on the host team, Volunteer’s at North Fulton food pantry and Make a Wish Foundation as a wish grantor.
Atlanta Agent (AA): We recently compared affordability levels in the nation’s largest housing markets, and Atlanta was the most affordable by a hefty margin. How does that quality impact your personal business with the luxury market?
Troy Stowe (TS): I specialize in the luxury sector, so people are looking at affordability when it comes to tank-less water heaters, LED lighting and different types of insulation, such as the new smart thermostat systems. Also, some of the new construction homes that I’m selling, builders are putting some of those items in. And these are very important things for someone who is trying to heat or cool a 10- or 20,000-square-foot-house.
AA: At the start of the year, Redfin rated the Morningside-Lenox Park neighborhood the third hottest in the nation; what areas in Atlanta’s housing market are you seeing the most demand for?
TS: We’re seeing a real big pent-up demand for the Chastain Park area. That’s a hot area for Atlanta, especially in a certain price range. Anything that falls within $1 million or $1.5 million around Chastain flies off the shelf. The big reason for the demand is, people love the lifestyle; for instance, they can walk to the park and are close to shops.
It goes back to the concept of “new urbanism.” Anywhere that brings you to a live-work-play environment – where you’re not siting in an hour commute everyday – to have those qualities has a huge impact on the lifestyle that people are looking for.
And the city is really investing in that lifestyle. For instance, it’s installing very cool street lights and trash cans. I love all that stuff – it lets you sit down and reflect while you’re waiting for your daughter, or walking your dog. And they’re also setting up cool green spaces in the heart of the urban areas, where people can walk their dogs. They’re getting great landscape architects involved when they’re doing these projects, and it’s so beautiful on the outside and it really enhances the area where you’re living.
AA: Every month, we publish an in-depth cover story, and our most recent feature looked at defining trends in Atlanta real estate in 2014. What’s on your radar, as the market takes shape?
TS: I’ve seen, as far as new construction goes in the luxury market, that the white kitchen is back, with clean lines and a lot of blues and grays. I’ll use this word carefully – it’s a “soft contemporary.” It’s not ultra contemporary or modern, but a soft contemporary. Where we introduce color is through our fabric and drapes.
So when you walked into a house three or five years ago, there would be many earth tones, bronze, very rustic, with lots of arches and glazing. Now, I’ve seen more restoration hardware with vanillas and creams, and blues, grays and greens. There are no heavy trims. But still, there are high-end appliances and dark hardwoods.
With my older Baby Boomer clients, I’m also seeing a big trend towards down-sizing. They don’t want the big house anymore. They’re used to living in their $4 or $5 million house, but they don’t want that – they don’t want the maintenance, they don’t want the upkeep, and they don’t want the high taxes. What they want, though, is a little jewel box, which has the quality but not the 10,000 square feet. So we’re seeing 4,200-square-foot homes with high-end finishes, and the big houses are a thing of the past. And I absolutely see those types of homes influencing where new construction goes.