It's been about a year since Crown Builders, aka Crown Communities and Pillon Communities, arrived in full force in the Greater Augusta, Georgia new home market. It's been a great ride for them so far based on sales volume and some local builders are working hard to adapt and become competitive with this product that was somewhat "new" to our marketplace.
Locally based market leaders including Bill Beazley Homes and Keystone Homes have been reworking their product to offer better value and enhanced features to recapture lost market share. Bill Beazley Homes recently announced "Loaded 2-Story Homes - $65 per sq. foot". Based on the descriptions at least, these 4-sided brick homes on spacious home sites could put Bill Beazley Homes back in the game. Not that long ago, Ben Brush homes were being promoted on Washington Road billboards at $80.00 per square foot and that was the lowest our market had seen for years. Crown changed all that by building "big box" homes in the $50's and $60's all around Augusta and even in Evans and Grovetown areas. In addition to the new construction builders being challenged, it's another huge story how these low priced new homes have dampened resale properties. These sellers had paid much higher prices and are often unable to sell and cover loan payoff amounts. These can result in potential short sales as well as growing numbers of local foreclosures.
Crown Builders has apparently ruffled some Augusta feathers as evidenced recently by the launch of a website www.crownaugustagabuilding.com. The site launched in late March 2010 by someone whose identity is unknown and then quickly was taken "Down for maintenance". The site was titled "The Good The Bad and The Ugly". It portrayed an outsider's story of the growth of Crown in Augusta including questionable dealings and business practices while taking some cheap personal shots at the builder and affiliates. It did give them credit for a good quality product produced by "hard working Mexicans". These homes are in fact really packed with extras not common for the price range. Only time will tell where the loyalties of consumers and locals land in relation to this powerhouse "Atlanta Builder"....... It continues to be an interesting story unfolding in the face of a challenging local real estate market.