For those of you who follow new home construction in the Augusta Georgia area, it's about to get very interesting. Although local builders have been hanging on through the somewhat slow times, a few new builders to our market have had an incredible impact.
Battle lines are being drawn as the new homes are being built at a much lower cost and are loaded with upgrades previously out of reach to average consumers. Over the last few years a couple of Atlanta based builders such as Trillium as well as R&B Construction recognized Augusta as a great opportunity and started building. Although they were able to compete at a lower price point their homes were not substantially different quality than those of local "production builders". When the market turned down they were left holding unsold inventory and suffered financial disaster.
The latest entry in our new construction market is an established company building as Crown Communities. They are quickly becoming known as the "biggest threat to local custom builders" and the locals are becoming very defensive. Crown is currently building in or about to start at least four new communities at price points and features buyers can't resist. These include Willhaven in Richmond County and Iris Glen, Ivy Falls and Berkley Hills in Columbia County with more planned.
The first neighborhood in Richmond County just outside Ft Gordon, known as Willhaven Estates sold over 80 homes in just a few weeks. You must wonder why? Crown Communities believe in delivering a high quality product at a very affordable price, something that is difficult to find anymore. They have a zero defect policy in order to close while delivering a finished home in 4 to 6 weeks. Standard features other custom builders consider "upgrades" include granite countertops, judges paneling, smooth ceilings, tile backsplashes, crown molding, and coffered ceilings in formal dining areas.
In addition to smaller custom builders, the big locals such as Keystone Homes and Bill Beazley Homes are having to take notice and make adjustments to compete. In addition, those considering resale of existing homes will find buyers lured away by that high-value, "new home smell" and will have to be priced right.
It's going to be an interesting time in Augusta, Evans, Grovetown, Martinez and Aiken markets as the status quo is getting upset. Major players in real estate brokerage, like Meybohm, mortgage players including First Bank, local attorneys, and other related service providers are digging in and taking positions. Hold on for the ride. This feels like a small town when Wal-Mart decides it's time to build a Superstore!
As always, feel free to contact me with your questions about buying or selling real estate.