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 Pauline Miller is the president and founder of Brightstar with Keller Williams. A specialist in the sales and marketing strategies for mixed use/residential new construction projects, Pauline was the senior vice president of Morris and Raper Realtors for 18 years before founding Brightstar.
Atlanta Agent (AA): How have new home sales changed from the boom years?
Pauline Miller (PM): It’s actually come full circle. What’s changed the most is builders are now forced to be more intent with what they’re building, and they have to be more specific about not building mass developments where every home is the same, but rather, homes with more intentional, unique designs.
We’re especially seeing homes that are smaller. Not everyone needs the big McMansion, nowadays. Families are smaller, and people are opting for fewer rooms with finer finishes, rather than more square footage.
AA: On that note, what are some of the other things clients look for in new construction, nowadays?
PM: We’re starting to see fewer separate formal rooms. In fact, in the suburbs, dining rooms are a thing of the past. Buyers today want more open spaces. The only separate room we typically see is a library, which can double as a home office or children’s study area.
Those trends, I think, have been driven more by the consumer than the builder, and the opportunity for that began during the downturn. Builders did not have the funding to build large developments, so often, a builder that used to construct hundreds of homes a year would instead built five or 10 custom homes for specific clients – and those clients would then have more influence over the home’s design.
The client’s requests during that time planted the seed, and now, with builders having the funding to work on larger developments, they have incorporated those requests into the homes’ designs.
AA: Finally, based on your interactions with builders, where do you see new construction heading in the coming months?
PM: New homes are always the first choice for buyers. They not only have new floor plans, but also better materials, although those materials have changed quite a bit. Up until last year, cabinetry was dark, and white cabinetry was considered entry level. But now, all the cabinetry colors are bright, from $150,000 new homes to $3 million penthouse. I sat with someone earlier this week who asked for orange!
Also, people are staying in their homes longer. Therefore, they’re no longer considering home purchases as a commodity, and are rather treating new homes as a longer-term decisions. That will, in turn, further influence design trends.