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 Pam Gebhardt, a Realtor with The Gebhardt Group of RE/MAX Greater Atlanta. A Realtor for 15 years, Pam is a multi-million dollar producer, and has earned her CRS, GRI, ABR, E-Pro and CLHMS designations. In addition, she is a Phoenix Award Winner and a RE/MAX 100% Club Member.
Atlanta Agent (AA): Atlanta is still quite affordable compared to other metro areas; prices, though, are still rising at a steady clip, so are you finding buyers are priced out of some markets? Or surprised at how prices have risen?
Pam Gebhardt (PG): Atlanta is a different market, in that it’s very segmented. For instance, there are some parts in North Atlanta where prices are more in-line with other large metro areas. I do many relocations, and when I have buyers who come in from the Midwest, they are shocked that the prices are high; if I have buyers coming in from the Northeast, though, or from California, they are shocked at how much more they can get for their money. Just like any other city, Atlanta has some areas that are more affordable than others; our average, then, is not a true indication of affordability in Atlanta.
Because of that price movement, I foresee certain areas of Atlanta gathering quite a bit of attention from buyers. Brookhaven, Decatur, Buckhead and certain suburbs with great schools (like Marietta) – in those areas, we’re seeing multiple offers on the homes, and the prices are increasing accordingly.
AA: We’ve been following NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, and one popular story from that series has been the characteristics that consumers are most interested in when it comes to homebuying; among your clients, what interests to you see in homebuyers?
PG: Again, I think it goes by the demographics of the population. When you look at the Gen Ys and Gen Xs, they want affordability, a close proximity to the office and a more urban feel. With some Gen Xs, though, they still want closeness to work, but they’re also entering the child-rearing years, so they’re more open to suburban areas with good schools. For instance, in places like Decatur and Brookhaven, the schools are excellent, but many Gen Xers have been priced out of those areas; so, they have to opt for a more affordable area, like John’s Creek, Alpharetta or Cobb County.
AA: And how do Baby Boomers play a role?
PG: Affordability and walkability are the two big requests among Millennials, but ironically, you’re finding the same requests when you work with Baby Boomers – they’re selling the suburban home where they raised their kids and moving back to the city. So we have a demand for the inner-city that is really popular.
That said, we really should divide the Boomers into two categories. You have Younger Boomers, who want to return to the city, but you also have Older Boomers who want to sell their large suburban house and trade it in for something smaller and more affordable – but not in the city. They have the money to buy something in the city, but instead opt for something in the 55+ communities further out from the city; they just want to scale down, and unfortunately, the Atlanta market does not really allow for that kind of downsizing right now – and that’s a huge opportunity for the industry that we’re missing out on.
Fifty percent of all Baby Boomers will be selling their house in the next five to seven years. If you look at that, you’ve got a great opportunity. Those people may even scale down and rent, rather than buy. The one consistent is, they want to scale down and they want one-level living, or multi-level with an elevator. It’s a huge opportunity, and one that builders are not providing for right now.