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Trends � Development � City Living

The Charles

Less Is More

Downsizing to a more simple life Intown By Kathy Dean

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ore and more Atlantans are trading in their large singlefamily suburban homes for Intown living, where residents can enjoy a “less is more” lifestyle. There’s less square footage to clean and heat, less housework and yardwork, and less travel time to work, shopping, restaurants and entertainment. There’s more walkability, more time and more freedom. Susan and Michael Jackson are retirees in the process of downsizing and selling their 5,000-square-foot home in Sandy Springs. They’re looking forward to a simpler, more flexible Intown lifestyle. “The more stuff you have, the more you have to take care of,” Susan said. According to her, the purging process is like going down memory lane. It’s difficult to stay unemotional, but it’s energizing, too. “It’s incredibly cathartic and especially satisfying when you’re completed,” she said. “It’s also much easier to do the earlier in life you tackle it.” While there are many choices for Atlanta

residents looking to simplify their lives— apartments, townhomes, condominiums— condos offer an opportunity to enjoy the convenience of vertical living and the security of home ownership. Those qualities are attractive to a lot of different people in all phases of their lives. Christa Huffstickler, President & CEO of Engel & Völkers Atlanta said that she has seen downsizers from the suburbs who’ve sold their large homes and want to move closer to work, culture and the city core where there’s an emphasis on wellness. “Condos appeal to a wide variety of homeowners, from entry-level millennials to baby boomer empty nesters and everyone in between,” she said. “We’ve seen a transition over the last decade where the lifestyle of the millennial/generation x and y matches what the baby boomers want.” They’re all drawn to life in an urban, energetic city center, according to Huffstickler, where life is spent with friends, walking in the park, focusing on health and fitness, going out to dinner, and not spending two hours a day commuting to

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and from work. “We’ve seen a trend where both move-up buyers and move-down buyers are looking for the same thing.” Many people are relocating to Atlanta due to the strong job market, said Kerman Haynes, Senior Vice President of Berkshire Hathaway CITY HAUS Condominium Division, and the city is also retaining a lot of the recent graduates from high quality universities, such as Georgia Tech. “We’re keeping our graduates in Atlanta instead of having them move to cities like Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Chicago, and that’s largely because of the reasonable cost of living here,” Haynes explained. “With vertical living, they can find affordable housing that offers them luxury and convenience.” He added that many of the younger people who bought condos about 12 to 15 years ago are now ready to move up. “Those first-generation condominium owners are staying in condos, rather than moving to the large home in the suburbs. They understand the lifestyle, they like it and they’re moving up, not out to homes in the suburbs.” The appeal of condo living attracts buyers from many different facets of life, from relocation executives to empty nesters and single/divorcee buyers. Anne Schwall, Vice President of Developer Services, Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty, said “While many buyers relocating from larger urban cities such as New York

seek out condos for proximity to work and to cut down on commute times, empty nesters and downsizers are attracted to condos for the ability to enjoy lock and leave to travel.” Although condos appeal to many different age groups and demographics, she stressed that the higher price points for new construction condos is pricing those newer condos out of reach for younger first-time buyers. “Empty nester and downsizing buyers are attracted to condos for the maintenance-free lifestyle and they have the financial means, from selling their existing homes, to afford the newer condos coming to the market,” she said. There are a lot of reasons why condo life is attractive to so many homeowners, including the ease of the lifestyle. “Condominiums provide the lock and leave environment where an owner can come and go, whether it’s to and from work every day, traveling for work or pleasure or coming and going for leisure activities,” Huffstickler said. She added that there’s a sense of simplicity when owners are responsible for what’s inside their walls, but can rely on a staff to manage the common areas, pool, landscaping and the day-to-day things. For example, The Atlantic, on 17th Street near Atlantic Station, provides a porter, doorman and valet who offer security and convenience to residents. “Condominiums also offer an array

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