Merriam-Webster defines luxury as a condition or situation of great comfort, ease and wealth, and that reflects perfectly what the luxury home market is like in metro Atlanta, according to several realtors, specialty builders and contractors in the area. Anyone relocating to metro Atlanta who is looking for a luxury home would consider those factors: finding great comfort in a home that suits their family’s needs, the ease of relocating to an area with the great quality of life metro Atlanta provides, and a wealth of options when it comes to luxury homes to meet any homebuyers’ desires.
Ashley Morris, marketing director with Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty located in Atlanta, says homes priced above $1 million is what they consider luxury. However, Stokely Weinberg, founding partner with Stokesman Luxury Homes also located in Atlanta, says that rather than defining a price range for luxury homes, they believe the term is applied based on experience and originality. “How do people feel when they are in the home?” Weinberg asks. “Luxury buyers will pay almost any price for something that will change their internal state. Are there extraordinary features of the home that you don’t often find? Maybe there’s a master bathroom that seems fit for a five-star luxury spa in Palm Springs or custom woodwork so impressive that it appears to have taken a local artisan months to complete.”
“Luxury homebuyers do not want cookie cutter houses with ordinary features. They want to be wowed and get a home that is exceptional and unique.” – Stokely Weinberg, Stokesman Luxury Homes
Atlanta Fine Homes is dedicated to providing the best possible real estate experience to clients, utilizing local experts with global connections who are committed to keeping homebuyers informed as they navigate metro Atlanta’s dynamic real estate market, Morris says. They sold 294 homes priced above $1 million in 2015, up from 257 in 2014, in Cherokee, Cobb, DeKalb, Forsyth, Fulton and Gwinnett counties. In 2016, the firm sold 20 homes priced as $1 million or above in January, an increase of 33.3 percent from January 2015, Morris adds. Of the 294 homes Atlanta Fine Homes agents sold in 2015, Morris adds that 75, or 25.5 percent, were new construction.
Stokesman Luxury Homes is a boutique custom home builder in Atlanta with a focus on the Buckhead area. Weinberg says they construct just a handful of luxury homes each year; last year, Stokesman built five. Weinberg attributes the increase in sales to corporate relocations. “We have nearly 30 Fortune 1000 companies in metro Atlanta and should only see this number increase in the future,” he says. “Nearly half of our home sales over the last few years have been to executives relocating from other cities.”
“At the luxury price point, customizations and high-end finishes are expected and the norm.” – Ashley Morris, Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty
Dac Carver with Beacham & Company Realtors, a luxury real estate company in Atlanta, says the increase in sales is due to many of the homes in this price range being discounted. “There are some really great houses that were $1 million to $1.5 million more than what they actually sold,” he says. “These are business people buying them and they’re realizing they’re getting a great deal.” He adds that they want a new home, if they can get it. “Buyers today don’t want to do any work. They want to walk in and it be done.” Beacham Realty had its best year ever in 2015, selling $150 million more than in the previous year in homes.
Luxury homes are sold in pretty much any area of metro Atlanta, but Carver says the most popular area is Buckhead, where numbers reflect that 60 percent of homes are sold there with the next largest segment in Alpharetta. “A Buckhead buyer is someone who primarily wants an in-town lifestyle and works in that area,” he says.
Bonneau Ansley III, president of Ansley Atlanta Real Estate, says they too are consistently seeing Buckhead as the location where homebuyers are renovating or building luxury houses. A boutique, luxury-focused, technology and marketing driven residential brokerage firm established in Atlanta in 2015, Ansley Atlanta serves areas throughout metro Atlanta, but primarily works in Buckhead and Intown neighborhoods. The firm’s mission is to be a one-stop solution for their clients’ residential needs — providing assistance in buying or selling a home, new construction and renovations. “No task is beyond our reach,” Ansley says. “To round out our mission, Ansley Hewett Custom Homes has been created to provide much-needed construction services to meet our client’s custom construction or remodeling needs.”
“Our clients are looking for the perfect home to meet their family lifestyle. In many cases, that may require some renovations. This is where Ansley Atlanta has an advantage.” – Bonneau Ansley III, Ansley Atlanta Real Estate
Atlanta Fine Homes’ Morris says the area’s luxury homebuyers consider many factors in identifying the area of metro Atlanta best suited to their needs and lifestyle. “Key decision-making factors could include convenient access to highways, vibrant neighborhood associations, excellent school districts, easy access to shopping and restaurants and proximity to the airport,” she adds. “Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty agents are among the most knowledgeable and experienced in the business, which allows them to identify neighborhoods and subdivisions that match the needs and desires of the homebuyers.”
Morris goes on to say that trends she is seeing in luxury homes include customizations and high-end finishes, which are expected and have become the norm. “Homebuyers in the luxury arena are not looking for a major project. Finding the perfect home to suit the needs of the buyers may take longer in this price point, as they are not willing to take many concessions,” she says. “Another trend in the luxury arena is for homebuyers to purchase new construction so they can have input in the home building and design process.”
Weinberg, whose clients include executives, professional athletes, business owners, doctors, lawyers and bankers, adds that luxury homebuyers do not want cookie cutter homes with “ordinary” features. “They want to be wowed and get a home that is exceptional and unique,” he says. “The two areas of a luxury home that must be first-class are the master suite and kitchen. This makes logical sense since these are the two areas that the owners of the home will likely be spending the most time!”