State of Market

Following the shock—and subsequent rebound— of the 2020 real estate market, we’re eager to learn what 2021 holds. Below, insiders weigh in on hot-button issues impacting Atlanta real estate, building and interior design industries.

Good wood. Lumber prices continue to climb. “It’s a big impact,” says Paces Builder Group’s Jim DeLany. “If you had a $50,000 lumber package in 2019, the same materials were $60,000 to $65,000 in 2020. That’s a big jump.” Prices peaked in summer of 2020, leveled out some and began climbing before the new year. Like any market driven by supply and demand, “No one knows how high it might go, and demand is way up,” says DeLany, who adds that most of his customers are choosing to absorb the increased lumber cost rather than wait for prices to dip. 

Chain reaction. Supply-chain disruptions have been a factor in every project interior designer Tish Mills Kirk has worked on for the last year. “It’s across the board,” Mills Kirk says. The first shutdowns impacted finishing, but after factories reopened, deficits in raw materials caused further delays. “The industry is really busy right now,” Mills Kirk says, adding that she’s planning on 50 percent more time on every order. “It builds in some cushion. My clients may be paying more in storage for furniture and such, but it’s better than not having [what we need].” 

Going up. “Condo sales were on the rise in Atlanta in 2020 compared to 2019,” explains Hil Harper, co-founder and vice president of Ansley Atlanta Real Estate. The trend shows no sign of slowing. He says the spike in condominium interest is attributable to renters capitalizing on historically low interest rates and downsizing homeowners buying second homes outside the city who still want an Atlanta pied-à-terre. To wit, Graydon, the new luxury high-rise in Buckhead for which Harper leads sales, is under construction and has already presold over 20 percent of homes more than a year before it’s set to open. 

Great escapes. Atlantans rushed to purchase vacation homes in 2020, and Karyn Woody, a Harry Norman Realtors agent based in Blairsville, Georgia, expects the trend to continue. “The lakes and mountains offer a relaxing pace and the scenery is therapeutic,” Woody says, adding that inventory remains low. “With the ability to work from home, low interest rates and the urge to get back to what truly matters, I think Atlantans are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, even if it’s only part time.” 

Making a splash. “When stuck at home for a time with not much to do, a swimming pool was just the thing that many people wished they had,” says Olivia Coker of Artistic Pools. From start to finish, their in-ground gunite pools take about six months to complete, though the required permitting—which varies by municipality—can add significant time. “We have noticed a tremendous backlog in the permitting process because the demand for a swimming pool is so high,” Coker explains. 


Last year was a record-setter for real estate in Atlanta.

$15 million
Chase Mizell of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty sold Tyler Perry’s 17-acre estate on Paces Ferry Road to an unnamed buyer, working through Engel & Völkers agent Lisa Robinson.

$7.385 million
Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty’s Sam Bayne sold a six-bedroom English estate on Argonne Drive in Buckhead.

$4.6 million
A 19-acre estate in Milton, sold by Harry Norman Realtors’ Alex McGraw, was owned by retired Braves player John Smoltz. 

$3.7 million
Listing agent Ashley Battleson of Engel & Völkers sold this 5,000-square-foot residence at One Museum Place, a record for the highest-priced Midtown condo sale in 2020.

$3.15 million
Ansley Atlanta’s Andrea Cueny set a record for the highest residential sale in downtown Alpharetta; the 7-bedroom home features a
collegiate basketball court.