Leone hired as new Beacham relocation and business development coordinator

Sharon Leone has joined Beacham & Company as the firm’s new Relocation and Business Development Coordinator. Leone has worked as a Beacham sales agent for the last four years. In her new role, Leone will be responsible for managing the firm’s relocation, referral and lead generation business while continuing to develop the company’s efforts in those areas.

A native of Houston, Texas, Leone is a graduate of Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics. She worked in the hotel industry for The Peninsula Hotels and later Leading Hotels of the World based in Chicago for 14 years. Her experience with Leading Hotels fits well with Beacham & Company’s affiliation with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, along with her luxury brand experience at Peninsula and familiarity with the real estate industry from an agent perspective.

Sharon is a volunteer with the Junior League of Atlanta and The Lovett School. She and her husband, Chuck Leone, are members of the Cathedral of Christ the King and reside in the Buckhead community with their son. Her interests include art, travel, tennis, and skiing.

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Beacham & Company, REALTORS is Atlanta’s top-selling luxury real estate office. The firm was founded in 2006 by Glennis Beacham, one of Atlanta’s most celebrated real estate agents. The company has 100 sales associates who are the most productive in the state by dollar volume of real estate sold per agent.

2017 tax reform and housing – let’s take a deep breath

Death and taxes. The only sure things in life but nobody likes either one. The year-long efforts in Congress to reform the federal tax code appear headed for final passage later this month if the House and Senate reconcile their competing bills. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) believes it will happen and is not happy about some of the bills’ provisions (click here if you want to support NAR’s protest). NAR says if passed, these provisions could depress home values by dampening demand.

Let’s take a deep breath for a minute though and – without talking politics – assume that some or all of the provisions that concern NAR make it into the final bill. Will it mean that home prices drop precipitously in 2018 or into 2019 (reforms could go into effect either year depending on which version of the bill passes)? We aren’t convinced, but let’s look at some of the most talked-about provisions related to real estate:

  • Deductibility of property taxes to be limited to first $10,000 paid (worst case House version). Currently, there is no limit. Even NAR acknowledges the House proposal would affect just 1.3% of the population in Georgia.
  • Elimination of the mortgage interest deduction for second homes. This would affect just 2.3% of population according to NAR. Also, the vast majority of second homes are purchased with cash and Atlanta is not really a second home market.
  • Elimination of mortgage interest deduction for mortgages of more than $500,000 (worst case Senate version). Currently the deduction limit is mortgages of $1 million or more. NAR says this would affect 7.9% of the population.
  • Elimination of deductibility of interest on home equity loans. Home equity loans were a darling of the housing bubble but not so much anymore. This has the potential to hurt businesses that rely on home renovations much more so than real estate.
  • Change to the exclusion of profits on the sale of a primary residence. Currently, a homeowner must live in a home for two of the last five years to deduct profits from the sale of that home. Under the proposals, homeowners will have to live in their home five of the last eight to receive the exclusion. This does sound bad and along with the mortgage interest deduction change is a top lobbying cry for NAR, but demographics could help here. Millennials and Baby Boomers make up the vast majority of the housing market. Millennials are buying their first homes while many Boomers have been in their homes for much longer than five years. Also, the average time in one home is now eight years. Finally, under the current proposals, anyone who has bought a home before the end of 2017 would be exempt.
  • Deductibility of moving expenses repealed. OK, you got us on this one. This would be bad but…(keep reading)…
  • It must be noted that all of the above changes would/could be offset by proposed reductions in income tax rates under both bills (here’s where we suggest you talk to an accountant though). For instance, the Tax Policy Center at the Urban Center and the Brookings Institution claims that 93% of all taxpayers would pay less tax ($1,200 on average) based on the Senate version of the bill. So, for instance, even though you pay more than $10,000 in property taxes and can no longer deduct the amount you pay in excess of $10,000, you very likely will still receive an overall tax break anyway.

For argument’s sake, let’s suggest tax reform has a net neutral effect on the housing market. As one top-selling Atlanta residential real estate agent of 15 years recently said, “no client of mine has ever based their decision to buy or sell a home based on changes to the tax code.”

Enough about taxes. NAR does have encouraging predictions for 2018 including some trends we have already started to see in Atlanta:

  • The major news from NAR is that they predict housing inventory will rise for the first time since 2015 in September of next year. This, along with slowing home price appreciation, will pave the way for a 2.5% increase in home sales from the all-time record year that will be 2017. New home sales are predicted to rise 7%.
  • Southern real estate markets will beat the national average in home sales growth.
  • The homeownership rate will stabilize at 64%. Historically, 65% is the sweet spot.
  • Millennials will continue to gain market share, from 40% of mortgages to 43% in 2018. The largest contingent of Millennials will turn 30 in 2020, so their share of the market should continue to increase along with overall demand.

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Beacham & Company, REALTORS is Atlanta’s top-selling luxury real estate office. The firm was founded in 2006 by Glennis Beacham, one of Atlanta’s most celebrated real estate agents. The company sells nearly $1 billion in real estate annually among its 100 agents who are the most productive in the state by dollar volume sold.

*Photo courtesy of Orlando Regional Realtors Association.

Beacham sells 4 of top 6 highest priced homes of 2017

Beacham & Company, REALTORS, the top selling office in Atlanta real estate for luxury properties since 2006, is top selling once again in 2017 including four of the top six sales of the year.

All four of the top six sales that closed for more than $3 million were in Buckhead and involved four different Beacham agents. Two of the sales were off-market sales (not in the Multiple Listing Service).

Year-to-date through Oct. 31, Beacham & Company leads all other Atlanta real estate offices in sales of single family detached homes of more than $3 million in Buckhead and Brookhaven with $33.3 million closed dollar volume according to TrendGraphix, an online market reporting agency for the real estate industry. The Beacham total includes off-market sales.

Overall, sales of $3 million-plus homes in Atlanta are up 14.8% through the first 10 months of 2017 versus 2016, but that percentage represents an increase of just three sales from 2016 and the average sales price is down 8.5% from 2016.

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Beacham & Company, REALTORS is Atlanta’s top-selling luxury real estate office. The firm was founded in 2006 by Glennis Beacham, one of Atlanta’s most celebrated real estate agents. The company sells nearly $1 billion in real estate annually among its 100 agents who are the most productive in the state by dollar volume sold.




Beacham & Company sponsors 25th annual Forward Arts Foundation Fashion Show

Beacham & Company, REALTORS is once again sponsoring the Forward Arts Foundation’s annual fashion show luncheon. This year’s event, set for Dec. 6 at the St. Regis Hotel in Buckhead, marks the silver anniversary. Chairing the event are Duvall Fuqua and Aimee Chubb. The featured designer will be Oscar de la Renta.

The Forward Arts Foundation Fashion Show Luncheon is the highly anticipated inauguration of the holiday social season in Atlanta.  Icons of European and American couture have presented their collections over the past 25 years at the Fashion Show Luncheon, including Hubert de Givenchy whose designs were shown at the first luncheon held in 1993.  Other designers whose couture shows have riveted guests have included Chanel, Carolina Herrera, Armani, Prada, and Fendi.

All proceeds benefit the Forward Arts Foundation, which since 1965 has supported the visual arts.  The High Museum of Art, the Atlanta History Center, the Carlos Museum of Art and Archeology, MOCA GA, Arts ATL, the Atlanta Contemporary, and the Georgia Museum of Art are among recipients of the Foundation’s funding.  The Foundation encourages young artists through its Emerging Artist Award, accorded this year to Andrew Boatright.

For reservations and more information, please contact the Forward Arts Foundation at 404.261.9855 or [email protected].

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Group picture featuring, from left, Dac Carver, Vice President of Beacham & Company, REALTORS, Molly Beery and Anne Powers, Realtors with Beacham, and Saks 5th Avenue Club‘s Shelly McKinley. Photo credit: Ross Henderson.


Beacham & Company sales up 49.1% in October as overall housing market treads water

Atlanta home sales were unchanged in October as the local housing market continued to its unpredictable pattern in 2017.  After 20 consecutive months of year-over-year increases prior to 2017, home sales this year have been up in five months, down in four months, and unchanged in one month.

The one constant in the market has been the average home sales price, which continues its unabated rise. The average sales price in October was $310,420, up 6.7 percent from $290,868 in October 2016. Lower than normal inventory and stable demand continued to force home prices upward, although inventory has increased from spring to fall.

The geographical area of analysis for Atlanta included Cobb, DeKalb, Forsyth, Fulton and Gwinnett counties. Among the areas in those counties that performed notably well in October were Buckhead, where single family detached home sales rose 20.7 percent, Smyrna-Vinings (+25 percent), close-in East Cobb (+26.4 percent) and Sandy Springs north of I-285 (+40 percent). Areas in which single family detached home sales performed poorly compared to 2016 included the Atlanta Intown markets (Ansley Park, Midtown, Morningside, Va-High), where single family detached home sales fell 50 percent, and Dunwoody (-21.2 percent).

Condo and town home sales were hot in Brookhaven (+24.2 percent), Sandy Springs north of I-285 (+65.5 percent) and on the Westside (+38 percent).

Beacham & Company, REALTORS registered another record sales month in October with a 49.1 percent increase in closings and a 48.5 percent rise in dollar volume sold compared to October 2016. Beacham agents remained optimistic about the near-term future of the housing market too; a majority of them responding to an internal survey think that housing market activity (including showings and offers) feels average-to-above average for this time of year.

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Beacham & Company, REALTORS is Atlanta’s top-selling luxury real estate office. The firm was founded in 2006 by Glennis Beacham, one of Atlanta’s most celebrated real estate agents. The company sells nearly $1 billion in real estate annually among its 100 agents who are the most productive in the state by dollar volume sold.

Townhomes at Bramley Park in Brookhaven begin construction

Site work has commenced on Bramley Park  in the hugely popular Village Park area of Brookhaven. The 23-unit townhome community will be comprised of four residential buildings surrounding a central park. The location lends itself to buyers who are interested in a live-work-play lifestyle because of its proximity to the upscale restaurants, the Dresden MARTA rail station, and the newly-launched AVB Brookhaven.

Community amenities will include a dog park,  home-owner bike share, and pool. The residences will offer refined yet relaxed elegance with interiors full of natural light and exteriors in the soothing transitional style that is crisp. The homes will have dueling front-facing balconies and private rear terraces with stained wood decking in all residences.

Designed by award-winning architects at TSW and developed and built by Harrison Development & Construction, the homes at Bramley Park will have will have between 2,500 and 3,100 square feet and start in the low $800’s. Among the most notable features included with every home will be a very high level of custom detailing and trim work, open chef-caliber kitchens with center islands and custom built cabinetry, Jenn Air professional grade appliances, custom brick and interior tile accents, master bedrooms with en-suite baths and his/her closets. Unlike most townhomes, elevators will be standard.

Harrison Development & Construction has been building upscale single-family homes and communities throughout Atlanta since 2007. With deep industry expertise, broad resources, and proven capability, Harrison delivers a product that is unique and progressive in design while also offering value in the simplest terms through excellent construction and exceptional service. Harrison expects to deliver the first Bramley Park homes in late Spring 2018.

Sales and Marketing efforts are being handled by BrownDaniel Real Estate with Beacham & Company, REALTORS, the city’s top producing sales team in 2016 according to the Atlanta Realtors Association. www.bramleypark.com 770.630.5430.

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Atlanta home buyers: Does tax reform plan mean you must buy in 2017?

Two powerful real estate organizations are fighting the latest version of the tax reform bill in Congress. Both the National Association of Home Builders and the National Association of Realtors say reducing the mortgage amount eligible for the mortgage tax deduction from $1 million to $500,000 could do serious harm to the real estate industry. In the short term however, it could spur eligible home buyers to proceed with planned home purchases before the end of 2017 in order to capture the existing deduction.

Under the current plan, which still has a long way to go to be passed, less than ten percent of home buyers in Atlanta would be affected by the change but they represent the entire affluent market. The change would only affect new purchases (2018 and beyond), and not purchases made in previous years. Other proposed changes may mitigate the elimination of part of the mortgage interest deduction for affluent home buyers although individual situations vary. A tax professional should be consulted for a full evaluation of the bill’s potential effects for each taxpayer.

Already, the last two months of any year represent an excellent time for both buyers and sellers to be active in the Atlanta real estate market. Over the last 10 years, home sales and prices have shaken their fall doldrums to register their highest mark between August and March every year except the Great Recession years of 2007 and 2008. The housing market is most in balance between supply and demand at this time of year than any other time of year because of an uptick in demand from tax-driven sales, year-end compensation awards, and business relocation. Beacham & Company, REALTORS encourages sellers to be patient the next 30 days as end-of-the-year demand materializes, while the firm also urges buyers to be proactive and use market timing and the proposed tax plan as an opportunity to obtain the best deal possible.

Although there are some indications that the housing market already cooled off before the tax reform plan was proposed, Beacham enjoyed another record sales month in October. The firm sold 49 percent more homes last month than any previous October in the last 11 years while dollar volume closed was up 33 percent.

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Beacham & Company, REALTORS is Atlanta’s top-selling luxury real estate office. The firm was founded in 2006 by Glennis Beacham, one of Atlanta’s most celebrated real estate agents. The company sells nearly $1 billion in real estate annually among its 100 agents who are the most productive in the state by dollar volume sold.

Should you buy in the flood plain?

While flooding from hurricanes and tropical storms may seem like a far away thing, Atlanta experienced catastrophic flooding not too long ago. In September 2009, the Atlanta area had what the U.S. Geological Survey called a “once in 500 years flood.” More than 20 inches of rain fell in a 24-hour period and 20,000 homes, businesses and other buildings sustained damage. The cost to homeowners and insurers was estimated at $500 million.

Four years after the 2009 floods, FEMA issued new flood maps for metro Atlanta. Many areas that weren’t even affected by the 2009 floods became part of the flood plain often unbeknownst to the homeowners affected. FEMA’s justification, about 25 percent of flood insurance claims occur in lower risk flood zones. By law, federally regulated or insured mortgage lenders require flood insurance on properties that are located in areas at high risk of flooding. Some homes may avoid flood insurance requirements if an elevation survey shows the lowest living level of the home is at least three feet off the ground.

In some jurisdictions such as the City of Atlanta, homeowners cannot build in the flood plain without a variance. Typically, homeowners must use the footprint of an existing structure when re-building (though variances are possible).

For those who have lived near a coast however, the thought that property in a flood plain would be worth less than property that is not is counterintuitive since coastal homeowners typically pay more to be in the flood plain. Homes in Atlanta that are in the flood plain often have desirable walk-out backyards and come with lots of land that can provide privacy or space for recreation.

Should you buy in the flood plain? The answer is as it is with all things real estate related; ask your Realtor.

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Beacham & Company, REALTORS is Atlanta’s top-selling luxury real estate office. The firm was founded in 2006 by Glennis Beacham, one of Atlanta’s most celebrated real estate agents. The company sells nearly $1 billion in real estate annually among its 100 agents who are the most productive in the state by dollar volume sold.

As investment, real estate a much better value than stocks

In its September issue, Money Magazine reported that U.S. millionaires hold just 6% of their wealth in investment real estate but 44% in equities. With the stock market at a record high, is it time for the wealthy to shift more assets into real estate?

Since the peak of housing prices before the Great Recession in 2006, the average U.S. home sales price is up just 4.3% according to Case Shiller Index, while the Dow Jones Index is up 255%. Home prices have increased 30%-plus in recent years but those gains only served to erase the losses from the recession. This after the average U.S. home price routinely gained 4.3% PER YEAR in the decades prior to the recession.

Lots of would-be real estate buyers, especially Millennials, are afraid that the housing market will experience another downturn like the housing market collapse of 2008-2010. However, that event was a once in more-than-a-lifetime event under circumstances that don’t exist today. Further, the National Association of Realtors home price tracking index shows that 2008-2009 was the only time in the last 50 years that home prices declined. Even Case-Shiller shows home prices rose during the Great Depression of the 1920s.

Millennials are one of the reasons to be bullish on real estate. They are the largest home buying group in history and are just beginning wade into the real estate market. If you are a parent or grandparent of a Millennial who has too much of your portfolio in stocks, now is the time to re-adjust and add some investment real estate. You will also be giving your offspring a path to their own wealth and have the opportunity of passive returns on your money. Also, don’t forget that real estate IRAs are an excellent way to hedge against a stock market downturn although all real estate held in a real estate IRA must be for pure investment purposes (no vacation homes, etc.).

Sold? Are you ready to take advantage of the opportunity real estate offers right now? Talk to a Realtor first (one of ours, preferably). There are up-and-coming areas all over Atlanta that offer the opportunity for double digit returns in the near-to-long term. We like Chamblee, East Atlanta, and the Westside (including West End) in particular for pure investment purposes. Also, our Beacham Bellwethers track the tried and true areas of town that traditionally do better than the market as a whole.

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Beacham & Company, REALTORS is Atlanta’s top-selling luxury real estate office. The firm was founded in 2006 by Glennis Beacham, one of Atlanta’s most celebrated real estate agents. The company sells nearly $1 billion in real estate annually among its 100 agents who are the most productive in the state by dollar volume sold.


Will it be Atlanta for Amazon HQ2?

The bids are in and Amazon will reveal its choice for a second world headquarters in 2018. The winning city will enjoy the spoils of 50,000 new jobs averaging $100,000 a year in annual compensation along with all the residual economic benefits those jobs afford. The first jobs won’t arrive until 2019 though, and the vast majority not until “beyond 2027” according to Amazon’s request for proposal (RFP).

What are Atlanta’s chances? Handicapping it is difficult because Amazon has not said what the purpose of HQ2 is but if it’s related to logistics, Atlanta – a logistics heavyweight – would be the logical choice. It has the world’s busiest airport and is one of the nations most significant confluences of rail and highway networks. Atlanta also ranks highly for its skilled technology workforce (an Amazon prerequisite), research institutions (Georgia Tech), existing and planned public transportation infrastructure, and conducive business climate including generous tax and other financial incentives although the Atlanta/Georgia bid was not among the top 20 in financial incentives offered to Amazon.

The RFP is curious: Amazon is looking for a metro area of at least one million people (Austin, the front runner according to Moody’s, had a population of 1.7 million as of the 2010 census). Amazon also specified significant greenfield or brownfield space to accommodate its $5 billion investment in eight million square feet for HQ2. It also wants a building site that is within 30 miles of an urban core and with public transportation connectivity. Austin’s Round Rock area, home to Dell, has lots of such greenfield space, a rail line to downtown Austin, and is 21 miles from the city’s center. Other requirements include being near a strong university system and within 45 minutes of an international airport (again, Austin has both: the University of Texas at Austin is considered a “public Ivy” and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has some of the longest commercial runways in the nation and an well-anticipated expansion program). Oh, and last but not least: the international business community considers Texas as the most business-friendly state in the U.S. Texas was also fifth among all bidders in incentives with nearly $70 million offered.

Last but not least, Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, has deep Texas roots and a 25,000-acre ranch in West Texas (he is said to be among the state’s largest landowners). In recent years, he and Amazon have built a wind and a pre-orbital facility there and Amazon purchased Austin-based Whole Foods earlier this year. Finally, Austin, known for its music, outdoor recreational opportunities, and hippie slogan, “Keep Austin Weird,” probably has more in common with the location of Amazon’s original HQ – Seattle – than does Atlanta. Frankly, the bidding process may just have been a money grab by Amazon to bargain as many incentives as it can from Austin government officials.

In making Atlanta’s bid, mayor Kasim Reed said the economic incentive package to Amazon was the most aggressive the state had ever put forward and called winning HQ2 an “Olympics moment,” referencing Atlanta’s drive in the early 1990s to win the bid to host the 1996 Olympic Games. This time around, it may be Austin’s Olympics moment.

UPDATE: At least one Atlanta news outlet suggested that adding 50,000 Amazon employees would be “bad for renters and first time home buyers” because “prices at the lower end of the market are already rising faster than wage increases,” but that line of thinking ignores the fact that all 50,000 “Amazonians” would not be in place for 10 more years and that the Atlanta area already accommodates 70,000 new residents every year. The article also pointed to Atlanta’s affordability problem by citing a rise in the median Atlanta home price of 37 percent but neglected to note that percentage tracked from the bottom of the collapse in home prices (2013); the average Atlanta home price has risen just five percent since July 2006 according to FMLS.

UPDATE: It has been suggested that Amazon could split up HQ2. Again, Amazon’s RFP is curious in that it indicates a need for 500,000 square feet of space in 2019 and the rest (eight million square feet) “beyond 2027.” A possible theory floated: Atlanta could get the logistics component of HQ2 (assuming there is one) and another city, presumably Austin, could get everything else. An Irish bookmaker has Atlanta and Austin as the equal front runners for the whole shooting match.

UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal makes some good points for some of the major cities in the running such as Boston, Toronto, and Washington, D.C. (Bezos has a home there too) but does not mention Atlanta – only the offer by Stonecrest in DeKalb County to de-annex 345 acres and call it “Amazon.” The article also indicates Amazon’s $5 billion investment in creating HQ2 will be over 20 years, not 10 as suggested in the RFP. Additionally, the WSJ reports that Arkansas, home to Amazon chief competitor Wal-Mart, is one of seven states that didn’t submit a bid. The city of Little Rock created a campaign, “Hey Amazon, it’s us, not you,” to show allegiance to Wal-Mart. The WSJ quoted Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola as saying, “we decided that we would break up with them before they broke up with us.”

UPDATE: Moody’s rankings shine the light on a state that hasn’t gotten a lot of publicity elsewhere: Pennsylvania. Moody’s analytical-driven scoring has Philadelphia and Pittsburgh ranked in the top 10 most suitable destinations and Philadelphia comes out on top when certain variables are tweaked.

UPDATE: An article by Bisnow on Nov. 3 about an anonymous permit filed on Oct. 30 (12 days after proposals were due to Amazon) to redevelop “The Gulch” property next to Philips Arena in downtown Atlanta into more than nine million square feet of office space, one million feet of commercial space, 2,100 apartments and 1,500 hotel rooms, seemed to give rise to hope that either the City of Atlanta, the State of Georgia, or Amazon itself have already targeted a location for HQ2. The Gulch does fit the bill on a number of site-specific requirements in the RFP such as connectivity to a variety of forms of transportation and nearby existing office infrastructure, but one key requirement – a site of at least 100 acres – is almost too perfect: The Gulch is exactly 119 acres. However, the Bisnow article also noted Atlanta Hawks majority owner Tony Ressler and CIM Group, a Los Angeles-based “full service urban real estate and infrastructure fund manager” have previously proposed a $1 billion mixed-used development (perhaps on behalf of Amazon) and the state has long floated the idea of a multi-modal transportation hub there.

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Beacham & Company, REALTORS is uniquely positioned to assist with the possible location of Amazon HQ2 to Atlanta. The firm’s agents are the top selling in the city and they specialize in all parts of the “urban core” that Amazon ideologically cherishes. Beacham’s local roots also make it a company that Amazon employees can trust with an intimate knowledge of the city. Beacham is affiliated with the largest and top selling international real estate – Leading Real Estate Companies of the World – and routinely partners with dozens of third-party relocation firms who move employees to and from Atlanta every year.