FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Melanie Smith has seen an emerging trend in Fairfield County real estate over the past few years as prospective buyers are taking a harder look at new construction houses.
“That’s the hot, most desirable property in the market,’’ said Southport-based Smith of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties. “In our area, antiques have always been desirable. Now they’re taking more time to sell. New homes in the $3.5 and $3.6 million price range are the most popular sales in the high end.”
Smith said she started to see the emerging trend in the past two to three years, as the economy has started to improve. “Before that, builders didn’t want to take a risk on building a ‘spec’ home because they weren’t sure how long it could take to sell,’’ Smith said.
Smith said new homes in all price ranges are hot. She said many buyers with busy lives want minimum work related to their home. “They want to move in and not think about what to do with a house,’’ Smith said. “And some people don’t know what to do to help fix up their homes.”
Homeowners moving into new homes, however, find additional expenses that are often not associated with older homes. “You forget that there are no shades or blinds on any of your 40 windows,’’ Smith said. “Builders will give a dollar amount for what they’ll use to pick out light fixtures and drawer hardware, and sometimes the ones a homeowner wants are three times that. And it can be expensive to landscape and get it to mature quickly.”
Smith said buyers looking at new homes have to do their homework before purchasing. She encourages buyers to research the type of construction to make sure they aren’t overpaying for a home.
“Spec houses might have what you’re looking for if you were building the home individually,’’ she said. “Some builders will put higher quality lighting and hardware in a $3.5 million home, but they can’t do that for a $1.8 million home. I often tell my buyers to look into what the construction details are in the new spec construction.”
While real estate prices seem to be rebounding, Smith says buyers still can sit on the sidelines until they get the home that they want. “Buyers still have all the time in the world,’’ Smith said “There’s still a lot of inventory out there.”
For more information on Smith's listings, contact her at 203-521-2126 or visit her website.