Luxury housing market in Atlanta sees slow growth

by Lydia Bhattacharya

Atlanta’s luxury housing market continues to reap the benefits of the city’s growth, but as the value of single-family homes and condominiums begin to stagnate, this could have ripple effects.

Overall trends

With the release of Coldwell Banker’s annual Global Luxury Report, agents can get a better understanding of what the top 1 percent look for in their homes. One trend with luxury homebuyers noted in the report was the movement of wealthy buyers from “traditional luxury hotbeds in the biggest cities” to more cost-effective areas with lower property taxes.

Additionally, researchers found the luxury home market has witnessed a push towards “the broad concept of wellness,” which has come to include the expectation of eco-friendly technology and sustainable building practices.

Demographics are changing this group too. The luxury market has seen an influx of millennial buyers and buyers from the LGBTQ community, with “LGBTQ individuals control[ling] upwards of $1 trillion in annual buying power, conferring an economic clout on par with that of the total millennial generation.”

Shifting desires

Using data from a poll of Coldwell Banker luxury property specialists, the report outlined the most and least desirable features of luxury homes. Seventy-two percent of respondents noted that “outdoor living spaces are a necessity for today’s affluent homebuyer.” Respondents also observed that luxury buyers were looking for homes with multifunctional rooms (that served as flex spaces), vehicle storage, home automation, open concept floor plans and au pair suites.

Under the umbrella of home automation, buyers were looking for smart security systems, temperature control, automated lighting, wireless sound systems and electric car docking stations. Wealthy buyers also showed a preference for homes that were newly built or move-in ready.

On the other hand, when asked about features that wealthy people find undesirable in a home, 40 percent of luxury specialists said that “highly customized features” were considered a negative. Specifically, tennis courts and indoor pools are of waning interest to affluent homebuyers.

An interesting trend that has recently emerged is a disinterest in homes with large square footage. Although still within a minority, 32 percent of respondents said their customers preferred smaller homes. “Boomers want to downsize, and millennials will sacrifice square footage for in-town locations near the action,” according to the report.

What’s happening locally

Prices for the top 5 percent of Atlanta’s luxury single-family home market experienced a slight growth of 4 percent over the past year, with the median list price reaching $1.6 million. The median sold price increased similarly (by 7 percent), landing at $1.45 million. Since last year, the median list-to-sales ratio has remained around 96 percent. The median days on market decreased by 25 percent, now averaging around 38 days. Atlanta’s luxury single-family home market continues to favor buyers.

On the other hand, the top 5 percent of Atlanta’s luxury condominium market experienced almost no growth, with the median list price reaching $849,925, which is less than a $3,000 dollar increase year over year. The median sold price for luxury condominiums experienced a 9 percent increase, landing at $818,625, outpacing the growth of list prices. Last year the list-to-sales ratio clocked in at an impressive 99.1 percent; though it decreased slightly this year to 98.5 percent, that’s still relatively high. The luxury condominium market in Atlanta was observed by researchers to be a buyer’s market.