Residential Real Estate Continues to Roar in 2021
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Residential Real Estate Continues to Roar in 2021

The pandemic year broke home sales records and redefined how owners view their spaces and are willing to invest in them. Motivated agents assess reasons and prospects in 2021.

After 35 years with the Atlanta newspapers, Marcia currently serves as Retail VP for the Buckhead Business Association, where she delivers news and trends (laced with a little gossip).

Atlanta real estate agents revel in their positive scores for 2020 and look for more momentum in 2021. In retrospect, market watchers can evaluate the confluence of factors: low interest rates, fleeing central business districts, crime, emotional appreciation for a physical home, children out of school, job loss and fear of financial unrest. Now that the chips have landed, agents almost unanimously agree that 2020 was a steaming hot year for activity.

For instance, RE/MAX released year-end figures showing an 11 percent increase in number of sales, a 15 percent increase in median price sold, a 25 percent decrease in average number of days on market and a 45 percent decrease in listings.

Initially, with stay-at-home orders, the market fell but quickly rebounded as restrictions eased and homeowners redefined spaces, according to those interviewed for this story.

Intown specialist Jon Effron said buyers are considering priorities that have gained attention during the pandemic. “What I heard most often last year: ‘Where should we put the Peloton?’”

He and other agents weigh in on the impact of the pandemic.

Jon Effron

Jon Effron
Jon Effron & Company

Condominiums in neighborhoods that long boasted “live, work and play” were hit hard, as all the living, working and playing was forced inside relatively smaller spaces.

For buyers in areas like City of Decatur or Candler Park, 2020 was a full contact sport. Multiple offer situations were commonplace, and I had one situation where my clients were one of nine offers under consideration. Conversely, selling a condominium right now in Buckhead is a challenging proposition. I’ve just had to explain to clients that our best-case scenario involves them selling their property for what they paid for it in 2016.

Keri Greenwald

Keri Greenwald
Atlanta Fine Homes, Sotheby’s International Realty

The market is hot! Toward the end of 2020, I sold the same Heards Ferry home I had sold three years earlier. This time, we had 12 showings the first day resulting in a full price offer. This five-bedroom home sold for $915,000, 26 percent more than before!

This trend will continue in 2021 as buyers take advantage of interest rates and change their location to work, study and play. Buyers are wanting more offices, exercise rooms, private backyards, pools, porches, and space. Additionally, after years of smaller homes gaining in popularity, I think we will see a trend toward larger homes again.

Eydie Koonin

Eydie Koonin
Eydie Koonin Group
Atlanta Fine Homes, Sotheby’s International Realty

In a year unlike anything we’ve seen before where up was down, in was out, you would think a global pandemic and unemployment crisis would have grounded the real estate market to a halt, but 2020 was different. In March, when people retreated to their homes, they saw things they didn’t have and believed they needed now in order to live in this new reality.

For many, the home requirements changed: needing work and teaching space and living 24/7. Luxuries like a pool, outdoor living spaces, finished basements took on a whole new importance. One trend was many wanted to upsize.

We are now faced with a market based on a simple economic principle – demand far outweighs supply. It has not been uncommon in the past 11 months for some listings to have multiple offers exceeding asking price.

My hope for 2021 is that we return to some semblance of “normal.” My belief is residential real estate will continue to see explosive growth fueled by record low interest rates, significant relocation and lifestyles.

Lindsay Levin

Lindsay Levin
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services

I sold an English country home to a British buyer for $3 million. It had a nine-hole putting green, gorgeous pool, acreage, plenty of room for a family to feel as though they are at a resort without having to travel.

In spite of the pandemic, I sold over $28 million of homes in 2020. The volume of business was not impacted, but the way we marketed and showed homes was. My business is typically 50/50 sellers/buyers. In 2020, it was 70/30 sellers/buyers. I had more clients moving out of town, empty nesters relocating closer to grandchildren, people who could work remotely moving to warmer climates. They moved to get more living area space, home offices and outdoor living area. Pool permits are at an all-time high and inventory is extremely low in resort areas, lake and mountain homes.

There was not a seasonal real estate market in 2020. With the hope of kids having a normal school situation in 2021-2022, we expect a traditional busy spring market. Interest rates continue to be at an all-time low, motivating buyers and sellers on the fence and increasing the number of first-time buyers wanting more space.

Michael Schiff

Michael Schiff
Schiff Real Estate Team/Ansley
Atlanta

Unless there is a huge mortgage interest rate, our market will remain robust in 2021. Since rates are still hovering near all-time record [lows] and housing inventory continues to be low, the market favors sellers. People who purchased homes seven to 10 years ago have the most equity.

If one knows they are going to move in the next couple of years, this is a great time to sell. Homes that sell quickly are priced correctly and in the best condition. If one is in the market to purchase a home, be prepared to make immediate offers on any newly listed homes of interest.

Jon Shapiro

Jon Shapiro
Jon Shapiro Group
RE/MAX Around Atlanta

2020 was in my top five best years since starting in 1991. Basically “home” became more important than ever and there was prioritization to having the right living accommodations. Superior outdoor living space was and continues to be in huge demand; 2.5 percent interest rates on 30-year fixed rate loans played into many first-time buyers, and bidding wars were commonplace in all price points. One notable trend was the move from urban to suburban areas and priorities shifted to square footage over location. With that said, the Intown markets we serve fared well. Atlanta seems to be unstoppable with every indication that 2021 will be another incredible year. Vacation homes nearby like Serenbe, Blue Ridge and Big Canoe are in demand!

Debbie Sonenshine

Debbie Sonenshine
Coldwell Banker Realty

Most people want to forget 2020, but the real estate industry wants to celebrate! We never expected to have such strength during a pandemic. 2020 started off strong, then in mid-March schools closed, everyone stayed home, and the real estate market stopped. No one knew what to expect and we held our breath. After a few short weeks, buyers were anxious to go in-person to see the homes that they had been looking at online. The market was red hot again. Thus the realization: life is short, why not buy what you want?

I had a very strong year with a one closing week that was the highest in my 40- year career with two homes over $3 million and one about $1 million closing the same week. I sold several condos and townhomes in the $200,000s to $300,000s, plus everything in between.

2021 will be another strong year, possibly less frenetic. Those cooped up are ready to move to more or a differently configured space, less emphasis on commute, safer neighborhoods, and possibly more suburban living.

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