In Atlanta, luxe townhomes take off

Developers struggle to keep up with demand
Luxury townhomes

Illustration by Sandy M

Increasingly, young professionals and empty nesters are opting for luxury townhomes with city views and access to restaurants and parks. For the 12 months ending with June of this year, national townhome starts had risen by 25 percent over the same period ending in 2015. Analysts attribute the surge to rising housing costs as a whole. Townhomes offer more space than condos and often provide owners with their own backyards or patios, while eliminating the hassle of landscaping and exterior maintenance—plus, they generally have lower price tags than single-family abodes.

In Atlanta, luxury new builds can range from the low $400s to nearly $3 million. High-end finishes are the expectation: Euro-modern style, elevators, rooftop decks, Carrara marble, Italian custom cabinetry, Sub-Zero appliances, imported tile, five-inch-wide walnut floors, smart home technology, eco-friendly features. And that’s just for starters.

Mark Draper, who recently bought a townhome in Decatur, says, “To get into a decent school district, we were literally looking at $400K to $500K for virtual tear-downs. It didn’t make any sense, not when we could have a new, turn-key townhome for the same price or less.”

Builders such as Epic Development and Cablik Enterprises provide buyers with a complete wish list. Epic is helping to transform Old Fourth Ward and the Eastside Trail, offering spacious contemporary townhomes with dramatic views and fabulous finishes. Cablik built the popular Sky Hill in Poncey-Highland, delivering front-stoop access to restaurants, shops, entertainment, and the BeltLine—all in the mid-$500s to $600s.

In premier Buckhead communities such as Regents Park or 39 West Wesley, a four-bedroom/four-bathroom unit can go for $2.5 million. Buyers are downsizing from multimillion-dollar abodes, using townhomes as second or third residences and lock-and-leave city options.

There is one big challenge, however, and that is lack of inventory. Developers cannot seem to build townhomes as fast as buyers are contracting them.

Egypt Sherrod is the host of HGTV’s Property Virgins and Flipping Virgins, CEO of the Egypt Sherrod Real Estate Group, and author of Keep Calm . . . It’s Just Real Estate: Your No-Stress Guide to Buying a Home.

This article originally appeared in our Winter 2016 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.