Is luxury housing in Atlanta slowing down?

by Peter Thomas Ricci


Luxury housing markets across the U.S. have seen declines in 2016, but according to a new analysis from Redfin, no market has slowed more than Sandy Springs.

Through Q1 2016, the average sale price for luxury homes in Sandy Springs was $1.546 million, a 14.9 percent decline from Q1 2015. That was the largest such decline in the country, and meanwhile, the average sales price for the rest of the Sandy Spring market rose 3.1 percent to $361,000.

Things were not universally bad for luxury in Metro Atlanta – in the Alpharetta market, luxury sales price rose 10.2 percent to $1.19 million; that was better than the rest of the market, where sales price rose 8.9 percent to $343,000.

What Ails Luxury Housing

What could be behind the declines in luxury housing? According to Redfin’s report, there are two major causes – the fluctuations in the stock market and the strong U.S. dollar.

On the stock market side, falling shares negatively impact high-net-worth consumers’ portfolios, making them less likely to purchase pricey real estate. And though a strong U.S. dollar has some benefits – for instance, goods from other countries are cheaper – it also makes American real estate more expensive to foreign consumers, who have a large presence in luxury markets across the country.

Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson explained: “Luxury buyers are out of step with the rest of the market because their wealth is at stake. Instead of cheering rock-bottom mortgage rates, luxury buyers recoiled from high-end spending in the face of volatile asset prices.”

Here is a chart showing how luxury markets have stalled across the country:

City Avg Sale Price –Luxury YOY Change Avg Sale Price – Rest of Market YOY Change
Sandy Springs $1,546,000 -14.9% $361,000 3.1%
Miami Beach $5,738,000 -13.7% $599,000 -1.6%
Austin $1,504,000 -11.8% $352,000 5.1%
Boston $3,190,000 -11.8% $608,000 6.3%
Alexandria $1,408,000 -6.9% $440,000 -0.2%
San Diego $2,477,000 -5.9% $529,000 0.8%
Houston $1,377,000 -5.1% $232,000 0.9%
San Francisco $4,407,000 -4.7% $1,217,000 4.5%
Pompano Beach, FL $1,123,000 -4.2% $197,000 4.2%
Washington, D.C. $2,042,000 -4.2% $537,000 1.1%
Spring, TX $1,077,000 -4.1% $226,000 -7.8%
Los Angeles $4,186,000 -1.3% $690,000 10.4%
Bend, OR $1,067,000 -0.7% $379,000 6.5%
San Jose $1,960,000 -0.6% $788,000 5.3%

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