Ben Hirsh was recently featured in the Atlanta Business Chronicle for a Q&A on the state of the “Luxury Market” (above $1 million). Ben is a leading Realtor in the Buckhead market, which accounts for 35% of Metro Atlanta’s sales over $1 million. A condensed version of his interview was published here and the full interview is below:
ABC: Describe the overall state of the luxury/$1 million-plus home market in metro Atlanta in the past year.
Ben Hirsh: The luxury market in Buckhead is strong – for desirable homes that are priced and marketed correctly. By the end of the year we will have had close to 400 sales over $1 million (for all residential property types). This will narrowly exceed the 382 sales we saw in 2015.
ABC: What were the ‘hot’ areas/neighborhoods of metro Atlanta for luxury/$1 million-plus homes?
Ben Hirsh: Buckhead as a whole dominates the luxury market with 35% market share. Within Buckhead, Chastain Park has seen the biggest increase in luxury sales over the last 2 years.
ABC: Who are the luxury buyers this past year (in terms of demographics)?
Ben Hirsh: Buckhead has always had a large market of self-made small-to-medium business owners. It’s not uncommon for a cash buyer of a $5-7 million home in Buckhead to be someone you have never heard of.
ABC: How did buyers in this sector of the market finance their home purchases for the most part?
Ben Hirsh: 14% of these buyers paid cash with the balance obtaining mostly conventional mortgages with 20-25% down.
ABC: Are there any other important trends you see developing?
Ben Hirsh: Since 2010 there has been persistently high inventory of luxury homes. Since that time there have consistently been 300-400 homes for sale at any given time in Buckhead with asking prices over $1 million. The only real fluctuation in that number is seasonal; January is the low mark and June is the high point. Over the last 2 years, inventory is up year over year which offsets the gains in additional sales. With inventory of luxury homes increasing, you have to know your competition. Have a better product, better marketing, and the right price if you want to attract the right buyer.
ABC: What can we expect to see in 2017?
Ben Hirsh: In 2015 the number of luxury sales in Buckhead for all property types rose 16% over the previous year. This year I expect to see a modest 2-3% increase and next year I expect about the same. We will break through 400 luxury sales in Buckhead for the first time. The market will remain very balanced between buyers and sellers.