Brave New World

It’s no secret that 2020 has brought unprecedented changes to our world. Even with the challenges, our housing market insiders see a bright future. “We’re open for business,” says Amy Bubes of Harry Norman, Realtors. “The market is very robust and people are still moving. They want to take advantage of low interest rates, which are a driving factor. You can have more property for less [over time].” She predicts that this summer, Atlanta will continue to be a competitive seller’s market, thanks to the high demand for in-town homes. 

After a statewide directive to stay home to accommodate social distancing this spring, some homebuyers are thinking differently about their family’s needs. “Many clients like having the luxuries of a pool, media room and exercise room to feel like their home is a sanctuary, and during a ‘shelter in place’ situation, homeowners can feel they are in a safe haven,” explains Robert Norris, executive vice president of architecture firm Spitzmiller & Norris, adding that clients also value safe rooms for storms and modern sculleries for bulk storage. Similarly, Al Kelekci, president of Hask Custom Homes, is noticing an uptick in demand for recreational environments like pools, screened porches, gyms and outdoor spaces. 

Technology has allowed businesses to thrive, even without the possibility of face-to-face meetings with clients and vendors. “For the past four years, we have been using an internet portal where our clients can log in anytime to get updated information,” says Kelekci of the real-time access to job logs, photos, selections, schedule and project financials. Norris’ firm is likewise accustomed to working on projects outside of Atlanta (as far afield as Costa Rica), so it’s been a seamless transition to connecting with local clients online. “We have many ways of communicating, whether it’s FaceTime, Zoom, conference calling, emails, text messages—you name it,” says the architect. 

As for the future of caravans and open houses this summer? Only time will tell. “It’s a wait-and-see kind of thing,” says Bubes. “I think moving forward, it’s going to be a little bit different for all of us.”