Construction of new homes is on the rise in St. John.
A recent report by Metro Study, sponsored by Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, V3 Companies and LiftMaster Garage Door Openers, indicates that in 2012 St. John had 202 new home starts. St. John Town Manager Steve Kil said through August this year there were 136 new housing construction starts.
“It slows down in the winter December through February,” Kil said. “But right now we are on a pace to pass up 2012.”
Kil said the growth is not particular to any one area but spread evenly throughout the community.
Kil said people are drawn to St. John for several primary reasons.
“St. John is unique with our proximity to Illinois,” Kil said. “We have a tremendous school district. We have a great utility system and we have very very high building standards and we maintain those standards.”
Kil said St. John also has a great track record of property values steadily increasing.
“I think people really educate themselves on those aspects and then make a choice as to where to live,” Kil said. “If you work in the city, which a lot of our population does, it is just as easy to drive an hour northwest as it is to drive southeast. If you live outside the city why not live an hour to the southeast in Indiana? You pay a lot less taxes. You get a lot more house for your money rather than live an hour away and pay double. A lot of people are figuring that out.”
Regarding commercial development, Kil said the town is currently working with a developer on a commercial project. He said the town has taken an aggressive marketing approach to attract businesses.
“We have developed a marketing plan that is right now being distributed throughout the entire Chicagoland region to every commercial realtor and a lot of retail businesses that we would like to see in our community, as well as various restaurants,” Kil said. “We are actively marketing the commercial aspect of the community right now.”
Kil said St. John definitely maintains growth in an orderly fashion.
“That is extremely important for people,” Kil said. “The town has a great reputation as far as construction standards. I think that is one of the most important things that people need to know. Those standards apply to commercial and residential construction. I really think that is a large component of what makes St. John attractive.”
Olthof Homes is building in North Point, Lake Hills, Saddle Creek and Silver Leaf subdivisions in St. John.
Todd Olthof said St. John is a great example of steady and orderly growth.
“The housing market continues to return to normal,” Olthof said. “There are plenty of families choosing to call St. John their new home.”
Olthof said growth among his company’s subdivisions is pretty well balanced.
“We sell to active adults in Lake Hills,” Olthof said. “That has seen nice growth. In Saddle Creek we have more of a move-up buyer. That has had steady growth. Silver Leaf buyers are looking for a good home but aren’t ready for that move up home yet. That is a great entry for families into St. John. North Point is for the move-up buyer. Those are really large lots.”
Olthof attributes the town’s popularity partly to the number of choices and the vacant land available for building.
“It’s a nice town with two school systems that are great - Lake Central and Hanover,” Olthof said.
Olthof said St. John has many good family activities and a continued growth of nice retail stores. It has Stack & VanTil, a Target and other stores around town that make it convenient, he said.
“I personally like to visit the Starbucks,” Olthof said. “It is nice to have those conveniences nearby and the small family-owned restaurants too.”
“It’s the town I live in and call home,” Olthoff said. “I have three girls involved in softball. St. John has a wonderful sports complex with their baseball diamonds, their softball diamonds and right next to the gymnastics center and the ice arena. It is a wonderful asset for St. John to have all those amenities in one location.”
Jennifer McCollom, home consultant for Phillippe Builders said traffic continues to be steady in the Gates of St. John subdivision.
“For the last year or so, we are seeing more pre-approved and educated buyers who know the benefits of going directly to the builder for their new home,” McCollom said. “People these days are doing their research and they find St. John is a desirable location for their families.”
McCollom said voted in the 'top 50 places to live St. John offers great schools, low taxes, and is close to major highways for easy commuting.
“They choose The Gates of St. John for the concept of the community,” McCollom said. “I have heard many times over that they have been looking for a location for a while and when they drove through The Gates ‘it felt like home,’” McCollom said.
Phillippe Builders has built several homes for the same families.
“The parents take advantage of our beautiful cottage style homes which offer maintenance free living and the children and families enjoy being nearby in the award winning Autumn Gate community,” McCollom said. “It's a win-win.”
McCollom said Phillippe Builders is consistently introducing new, innovative house models to better meet the new home buyer's needs.
“We also customize any of our floor plans to accommodate the customer’s lifestyle,” McCollom said. “Finally, we expect new home purchasers to do their homework prior to selecting a builder. People choose Phillippe Builders for the quality. All of our homes are built and inspected to meet, and many exceed, the energy saving RESNET specifications. In turn, this is a value to the new home owners saving significantly on their annual energy bills.”
McCollom said Phillippe Builders also offers on-site selection process in their custom design center and personal assistance from the Home Consultant Team followed by attention to detail throughout the building process by the on-site foreman.