Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Bigger Is Better for Builders, Buyers

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Bigger Is Better for Builders, Buyers

Article excerpt

For a host of reasons, home buyers are looking for larger homes with more amenities, and with interest rates hovering around 7 and 8 percent, they don't seem to mind laying down more money to get what they want.

As a result, subdivisions of higher end homes with 3,500 to 6,500 square feet have multiplied.

"There's a general trend of people buying the luxuries and the features that used to be considered the purview of the wealthy," notes David T. Yost, president of Future Investments and the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association. "That's been a gradual change in people's expectations." For example, more buyers expect homes to have three-car garages, and homes with 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 baths have become more common. "The 20,000- and 30,000-square-foot homes, there's more of those than you would think," Yost says. He is developing The Estates of Apple Valley with homes from 2,800 to 3,500 square feet ranging from $225,000 to $350,000. New home prices have steadily increased, from an average of $62,500 in 1978 to $165,800 in 1996, according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census. At the same time, the average size of a home has grown from 1,645 square feet in 1975 to 2,120 square feet in 1996, according to the National Association of Home Builders. "The housing situation is the same as automobiles or anything else," explains Leo Cravens, executive vice president of the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association. "In housing, people do want to move up." The increased popularity of master planned communities and gated communities have pushed up prices some, says Caleb McCaleb, president of McCaleb Homes. Master planned communities often have a community swimming pool, walking trails and a golf course. "People are willing to pay for the amenities because they're coming from Atlanta, Dallas or Kansas City, and they're used to neighborhoods with lots of amenities," McCaleb says. McCaleb builds homes in Steeplechase and Oak Tree, most ranging from $175,000 to $350,000. "We have had a lot of people in the last four to five years who have made quite a bit of money in the stock market, and they're taking their profits and putting them into homes," McCaleb says. …

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