The pandemic continues to drive demand and prices in Atlanta’s traditional second-home markets. Luxury buyers seek to spread out from the lakes—Oconee, Rabun and Burton—to north Georgia’s mountain towns and the Highlands/Cashiers area to the Golden Isles. Off-market sales are common, inventory is low and existing homes are even more desirable due to builder backups and supply chain issues. “The second-home market has a lot of pressure on it,” says TRAVIS REED of HOME LUXURY REAL ESTATE. Prices have doubled and even tripled since the pandemic, and another six months of increases are expected. Last year, he sold a six-bedroom, 8,110-square-foot Lake Oconee home for $3.6 million; it sold for $1.6 million three years prior. New homes in the Lowcountry’s Palmetto Bluff also are experiencing significant appreciation, he says.
Demand is “absolutely outpacing the market,” says KRISTIE WHITAKER, senior vice president and managing broker of HARRY NORMAN REALTORS’ Atlanta North, Blue Ridge and Blairsville offices. She expects a few listings this year in the $7-million range. Buyers seek the comforts of a primary home—from connectivity to full terrace-level entertainment spaces to pools—in vacation locales where they spend more time hybrid living for remote work or school. “If you see something you like, buy it. Don’t wait,” says Reed. “The next one that you like is going to be more expensive.”