Monthly Archives: August 2014

LUXURY HOME AMENITIES THAT ARE TRENDING UP

It is always interesting to me how adaptable the home building market is. Whether it’s in Greenwich or Palm Springs, this is an industry that’s constantly evolving. Building materials, finishes, appliances, technology, décor, and the way that we interact with our homes are always in a state of flux. Although some of the fundamental portions of the home have not changed in my 30 years, today’s luxury properties have a variety of differences from homes that we built in the early 1980s.

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So what are people looking for these days when they build or buy a luxury home? Realtor.com conducted a study in April of the top luxury home amenities that people are seeking. They sync up pretty well with what we’re seeing in the market today. The top two items that homeowners want the most are a chef’s kitchen and views of water, cityscapes, or mountains. Forty-four percent of voters noted these amenities as priorities, making them highly sought after. The survey also found that square footage and a large master suite are very important.

Top-of-the-line, gourmet kitchens are a fairly standard request from our clients. These kitchens typically include professional-style gas ranges, ample prep and workspace, dual ovens, large islands, and large sinks. And because the kitchen today is a place for congregating, homeowners often look for counter seating within the kitchen space.

Given that Fairfield County towns such as Greenwich, Westport, and Fairfield are on the shore, we certainly see our share of waterfront demand. And we’ve built several properties on the water. These types of lots are hard to come by, and often require teardown and/or special engineering and building. Despite these obstacles, homeowners with the resources are often willing to take the extra steps to get them. The topography of Fairfield County and density of the population does not typically lend itself to sweeping mountain views, and of course we are not in an area with cityscapes. That said, properties that do provide views are highly desirable.

According to the Realtor.com survey, 40 percent of homebuyers say that the biggest challenge when searching for a luxury home is finding a property that meets the needs of their family. This makes the case for building new or renovating an existing property. When doing so, you’ll have the flexibility to design your chef’s kitchen and master suite exactly to your liking.

Kelly M. Wright
Wright Building Company

WHY RIGHT NOW IS A GREAT TIME TO BUILD A NEW HOME IN FAIRFIELD COUNTY, CT

I was building in the early 1980s when interest rates were in the double digits. They capped out at about 18%. High numbers like those are hard to imagine for people in the Fairfield County housing market today. Although the ’80s were a bit of an anomaly, it gives me pause when I consider just how low the rates are at the moment. Rates for a jumbo mortgage are hovering around 4.125% for a 30-year fixed. They get even lower for 20- and 15-year loans. Today’s rates are still near historic lows.

Remodel

Home sales are up, builder confidence in single-family homes is up, and new housing starts are up, nationally. Locally, in towns such as Greenwich, Westport, Darien, and New Canaan, the housing market has shifted over the past year or so. It’s shifted to a seller’s market, in many towns, for new homes and land sales. This means demand is higher than inventory levels, and as a result sellers have the ability to raise their prices. We can attribute these positive trends to demand, the overall expansion of the economy, and the low interest rates.

At Wright Building Company, we’re seeing this growth firsthand as we continue to start new single-family home construction projects, custom home building jobs, and renovations. Simply put: It’s a great time to build a new house or renovate. When things bottom out, prices and rates typically start to go up.

Another compelling reason to build new is the ability to save in the future. Today’s homes are considerably more energy-efficient. New appliances, heating and cooling systems, insulation, and building techniques are all playing a role in making homes less reliant on fuel and electricity. The results can lead to savings of 30% per year on energy expenses as compared to those of a home built just 10 years ago. The savings get even higher when compared to older homes. And of course building new gives you the opportunity to design your home to your exact specifications and gives you a better chance of ending up in your desired location.

Anyone who has been able to lock in a low rate can tell you that it’s a very satisfying feeling. And when rates climb back up, as they eventually will do, you’ll feel good about making the right call at the right time.

Kelly M. Wright
Wright Building Company