Like with other real estate professionals, most conversations on the subject will quickly progress to core economic principles like supply-demand relations and the plight of home builder firms.
On the local housing front, things have stabilized enough.
“We’re starting to see builders get back in the game,” said McDonald, of RE/MAX Around Atlanta’s Sandy Springs office. “They always say that once the housing market starts to recover, the rest of the economy starts to recover, and, we’re starting to see that.”
McDonald has managed to blend nearly two decades of Atlanta real estate experience with a telecommunications background en route to becoming one of the more recognizable Realtors around. She is a regular on HGTV shows “Designed to Sell,” “My First Place” and “Bang for the Buck” — whose new season is set to premiere this summer.
McDonald left a cushy gig in corporate America.
“You see a lot more results in a position like this,” she said. “You actually get to help families and help shape the community through positive growth and development. … It’s awesome.”
McDonald is part of a panel of area Realtors to take part in recent individual question-and-answer sessions about all things real estate.
The following are excerpts from those interviews:
NN: How has the market changed since the beginning of the year?
“We’ve seen some pretty dramatic changes in the statistics from year-over-year, 2011 to 2012 to 2013, but the supply and demand — which is the biggest issue on the table right now — has been fairly consistent for all of 2013.”
— Michael Rogers, president of Buckhead-based Dorsey Alston, Realtors
NN: In Brookhaven, Buckhead, Sandy Springs and Vinings, has the market been different than the rest of metro Atlanta in any way?
“It’s possible that these areas are seeing more multiple-offer situations than other areas, although east Cobb — and to some extent north Fulton — are experiencing bidding wars as well. Areas with top-performing schools are in highest demand.
“Also, after several years of dealing with appraisals coming in below the purchase price, we are now seeing homes appraise for above the purchase price.”
— Dac Carver, vice president and managing broker of Buckhead-based Beacham & Co., Realtors
“Buckhead, Vinings, Sandy Springs and Brookhaven house some of the most expensive homes in Atlanta. Activity and the number of sales has increased steadily in 2013. Most of those sales have been in the lower price point for each of those individual markets. The upper-end market homes over $2.5 million remain slow.”
— Shea Zimmerman, senior vice president of Buckhead-based Harry Norman, Realtors and managing broker of its Buckhead northwest office
NN: How are condo sales going?
“It’s surprising … the luxury market is wildly successful right now, especially in the Buckhead area. Over the last six months, you haven’t seen the influx of foreclosures and short sales.
“New building [sales] are amazingly strong right now.”
NN: Does the current market remind you of another time?
“No. In the history of Atlanta real estate, available housing inventory has never been as low as it is now relative to population. The housing inventory situation will ease as more homeowners get back to positive equity positions due to rising home prices.
“However, we could be in a usually low inventory environment for another year or so. If that is the case, look for home prices to continue their rapid ascent.”
“I have never experienced a downturn in the market as we have seen over the past five years. This current activity reminds me of the years following the  Olympics, where the market activity was at such a high pace it was difficult to find suitable properties for buyers. Prices increased rapidly over those years and into the early 2000s.
“We have hopefully learned from those years and won’t make the same mistakes that took us into the downturn of 2007-11.”