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.

Posted by Christine and Drew May on


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How is it that they are able to offer such upgrades that nobody else in our area is able to offer? I don't know about most readers but I really have to question what lies beneath the surface. Are the materials and "manpower" coming from our market???? How is this extreme price difference going to help us keep the values of our homes up? I'm like most; I want a great deal as well but what does it cost us in the long run? Do we really want to become like Atlanta? Just a little concerned

Posted by Concerned on Wednesday, January 13th, 2010 at 9:02am

They don't offer upgrades that nobody else is able to offer. They offer more affordable upgrades that most don't want to offer at the same price because locals have been enjoying a higher profit margin for some time now. For those who don't enjoy the higher profit margin they are simply inefficient with their work flow. Crown has home building down to a science. No, most materials are not bought local, and no, most of the labor is brought in from Atlanta, although some local contractors are used for HVAC and plumbing.

We could apply your same reasoning to purchasing a car. If you buy a Honda at a great deal, what does it cost our country in the long run? I'm willing to bet most items in your home and even the clothes on your back were not made in the USA. So what of the local pharmacies and local hardware stores when Wal-mart moved in to town? Do you shop at Wal-mart or did you help put the locals out of business? So where does that leave your reasoning?

Concerning the home values: in our capitalistic society, no one promised you a duty to prevent your home values from never fluctuating downward. It's simply supply and demand. It happens.

Not sure what you mean by "become like Atlanta." You mean growth? That which does not grow will surely die.

Posted by Anonymous User on Friday, February 12th, 2010 at 9:18am

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