While they may still outshine many of the houses in the state, some Floridian mansions are actually scaling down in size so home owners can cut costs. The difference is in the details and that’s why many people may not notice the downsizing, but builders are certainly noticing as they contrast the luxury homes.
According to The Palm Beach Post, the crash of the real estate market has caused many wealthy individuals to cut some corners, quite literally. Now many are choosing new “models from luxury builders advertised as opulent, yet efficient.”
One such models is seen with Kenco Communities which will give residents of the Oaks at Boca Raton the opportunity to explore their model of a 4,9343-square-foot Verona model with six bedrooms and a three-car-garage. They note that the model “lives up to Kenco’s five-star reputation, but comes with a price tag of only $1.3 million, whereas Kenco’s older models ranged in price from $2.5 million to $5 million.
Ken Endelson is the co-founder and chairman of Kenco Communities, and he says, “What happened in 2004, 2005, and 2006, it was all about the bigger the better, that was the mantra. We started out in 2003 building houses that were 4,700 square feet, 5,500 square feet. Then, three years later, people wanted 6,000 feet plus.”
Endelson says that now, with the new Verona model, home owners will save space by cutting out “a formal dining room and a formal living room—a space that is a showcase, but rarely used. Right away you have 700 feet.”
Nationwide there appears to be the same sort of trend occurring as we are seeing Florida, according to The Palm Beach Post. Builders are admitting that there has been a shift in demand, and they are now trying to readjust to cater to “post-recession buyers who still want luxury, but at a discount.”
According to a survey released last year by the National Association of Home Builders, nearly 90 percent of builders are “designing smaller homes in response to requests from architects and consumers.”
Other builders are using material downgrades to fit the home owner’s requests. For example, Toll Brother’s “new designed may still have stately columns, but they’ll be high-impact foam instead of stone.” In addition, hurricane-resistant glass windows are always an option (and quite frankly recommended in Florida), but they are not a given, and some new designs are also moving the master bedroom from the ground up to the second floor. Some previous homes had the master bedroom on the ground floor in order to accommodate soaring two-story ceilings in the living room.
Toll Brothers’ senior vice president, Ron Blum, notes, “The market is very wise. The type of home we’ve designed now is inexpensive to build, and that brings us to a marketplace where we can reach more people.” Toll Brothers usually design homes with 3,000, 4,000, and 5,000 square feet, but their new homes will fill the size gaps with a 3,200-square-foot model and other “in-between sizes.”