Meeting Demand in Challenging Times
Triad New Home Guide - Spring 2022
New Home Construction and Available Building Lots
in the Piedmont Triad
Although it may not seem like it, housing prices in the Triad are a bargain. Builders continue to face the challenges of materials being in short supply and those materials, when available, seem to be rising in price every week. And the challenges don’t stop there. Finding the qualified workers that can turn those materials into beautifully crafted new homes is arguably an even greater challenge.
From left to right: Bruce Hubbard - Hubbard Realty, Tim Grein - CG2 Homes, David Stenson - Foothills Modern Homes, Ken Capron - Shugart Homes, a division of Mungo Homes, Jeff Guernier - True Homes, Korey Smith - Black Rock Home Builders, Whitney Gifford - Isenhour Homes
Regardless, homes in the Triad are a bargain compared to our neighbors to the east and south. Redfin reports in April that the median price of a home in Charlotte and Raleigh are $370,000 and $386,000 respectively. That compares to median home prices in the Triad ranging from $215,000 in Winston-Salem to $245,200 in Greensboro. The selling price of a new home begins with the cost of the land and land is still less expensive in the Triad than in either of the neighboring metropolitan areas.
Whether buying a new home from a production builder, a spec home from a custom builder, or contemplating a custom built home from your own design, the availability of a desirable building lot is the first challenge. Historically, an ample supply of suitable building lots in desirable neighborhoods was not an issue. Today however, it’s not as easy as it once was to find that perfect location to call home.
Bruce Hubbard, Hubbard Realty
Bruce Hubbard, CEO of Hubbard Realty, has been involved in the sales and development of new homes since 1975. Hubbard Realty controls hundreds of building lots and continues to develop parcels for new home communities. Originally only selling lots to builders, today, Hubbard Realty sells not only to the builder community but also has communities where individuals can purchase lots directly.
When asked about the current state of lot availability in the Piedmont Triad market Hubbard indicated that he expects the supply of available building lots to continue to tighten up before relief is felt. According to Hubbard, “It takes longer to develop land. There are more governmental regulations, the supply chain of materials hasn’t recovered, and the lack of skilled workers also makes it more difficult to develop and deliver residential subdivisions in a timely manner. Additionally, there are more people desiring to move to the Triad as well as those who want to purchase a home before interest rates climb higher."
Ken-Capron, Shugart Homes, a division of Mungo Homes
Once a lot is secured, the problem of supply shortages and price volatility still has to be dealt with. Builders are handling this challenge in different ways. Ken Capron, Land Acquisition Manager for Shugart Homes, a division of Mungo Homes, says his company has changed their business plan in response to this challenge. “It’s been really difficult” says Capron "... we took years and years to perfect the preselling of houses to make the outcome the most efficient and beneficial for the buyer, but now we have to wait until framing is complete and only then will we list the home on the market. So, currently we are not executing any presales at all.”
This is a common theme among builders.
David Stenson, Foothills Modern Homes
David Stenson, owner of Foothills Modern Homes LLC, agrees that it’s a tough environment for everyone. Says Stenson, “It’s challenging. And now, more than ever, it’s important that homebuyers, builders, developers, and suppliers work together to meet the demand of the challenges” however, he adds, “while it’s a challenging time … interest rates are historically low.”
While customers buying from neighborhood builders like DR Horton, Shugart Homes, and True Homes don’t have to be concerned about finding a lot, anyone in the custom-build market does have that concern. Hubbard Realty has lots in over 50 neighborhoods which are available to home-buyers for direct purchase, but many other lots in various communities only available through a builder, as many homebuilders acquire lots so that they can accommodate their custom-build and semi-custom build customers.
Tim Grein, CG2 Homes
Tim Grein, president and founder of CG2 Homes, is such a builder. “We are fortunate to be in a lot of different neighborhoods that provide different options for customers. If someone wants a smaller lot in a more urban area we have those, if someone wants a neighborhood with lots of amenities we have those too, or likewise if someone wants a more rural setting with a larger lot we have those neighborhoods as well” says Grein.
Home Design Trends Constantly Evolving
A new home needs a lot on which to be built, but the design and interior and exterior appointments are still front and center in buyers’ minds. Smart home features and lower maintenance materials continue to evolve and further widen the gap between the comfort, functionality, livability, and desirability of new homes versus used homes.
Whitney Gifford, Isenhour Homes
In addition, Whitney Gifford, President of Operations for Isenhour Homes, says "an Open Kitchen is still an extremely important and popular part of the home. In fact, it’s the most important part of the home. It’s a way to bring families together. The master bath is also extremely important to today’s buyer. It’s a sanctuary. Kitchens and baths are the most important rooms to today’s buyers by far."
According to Gifford, “The outside living elements are also becoming increasingly popular. Our weather in the Piedmont is beautiful and people want to take advantage of it and be outside. To address that, we’ve incorporated some of the outside elements in our floorplans and also worked to bring the outside “in” adding elements such as firepits and larger windows on the back wall of the home to invite some of that light inside.”
The Future Looks Bright
Jeff Guernier, True Homes
Winston-Salem, like the entire Triad, continues to evolve as a wonderful place to live and raise a family. The economy is seeing a steady stream of positives. Jeff Guernier, Operations Manager for True Homes, says “the in-migration into the Carolinas is lifting demand in the metropolitan areas in all locations but also, I think, the infrastructure we have in place in the Triad, specifically in terms of transportation, is adding a lot of jobs and growth.”
Winston-Salem was home to the very first Arts Council and has remained true to its artistic roots with many cultural opportunities. It is home to major colleges and universities including Wake Forest, WSSU, NC School of the Arts, and Salem College. It has a minor league baseball team, a Nanotechnology center, and a major medical center. The city has a vibrant downtown. All of these combine to make Winston-Salem a highly desirable place to call home and the prospects for Winston-Salem’s continued growth and development are very bright.
Bruce Hubbard puts it this way. “I grew up in Winston-Salem and I can’t think of a better place to live. North Carolina has so much to offer … the mountains, the seashore, the 4 seasons, and many qualities-of-life benefits. There is a huge diversity of opportunities for those who call North Carolina home.”