Builders, homeowners cite advantages of new construction

2014-03-16T10:28:00Z Builders, homeowners cite advantages of new constructionDiane Poulton Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
March 16, 2014 10:28 am  • 

Chris Kovacik hoped to celebrate Christmas in his newly-built home in Winfield’s Stonegate subdivision.

Providence Builders worked hard to make his dream a reality, said Kovacik, who closed on his home Dec. 19.

It was a nice Christmas present for the family including his wife, their son and the two foster children who were staying with them, he said.

“They were super excited. Everybody was. Even I was,” Kovacik said.

The Kovaciks moved from Winfield’s Stony Run subdivision, where they had lived 15 years. Kovacik, who grew up in Whiting on the Robertsdale border, said his home was a “fixer upper” in Hammond.

“The second was a two-year old home when we bought it,” Kovacik said. “After living in that house for two or three years you realize that it isn’t what you want.”

So when the family decided to move, Kovacik said, they chose new construction.

“You get to make those choices, to make the house yours exactly as you want it,” Kovacik said. “That was the big thing about choosing new construction.”

Kovacik said he chose Stonegate because he wanted to stay in Winfield, where he is familiar with the area and the people, and in the Crown Point school system.

Realtor Catherine Hicks of Pace Re/Max, who markets Stonegate, said Kovacik likes his new home so much he convinced his parents to move from Whiting to Stonegate.

Hicks said 2013 new construction sales in Stonegate were almost double from 2012 numbers. She said sales are off to a good start in 2014.

“It’s great quality at a wonderful price,” Hicks said. “You really get a little bit more for your money in Winfield.”

Jennifer McCollom, who represents Phillippe Builders in the Gates of St. John subdivision, said sales in 2013 were slightly better than 2012.

McCollom said most of her buyers are downsizing to the maintenance-free cottage homes or are move-up buyers who have been renting or leasing. They are buying single family homes from $210,000 to $400,000, McCollom said.

Most of McCollom’s buyers come from Illinois, she said, but some are local.

McCollom said the advantages of building a new home include the energy-smart savings, the builder’s and manufacturers’ warranties, the ability to choose everything from roof to faucets and not having to update or rehab the home.

McCollom said St. John offers great schools, nearby shopping and activities, access to expressways and reasonable taxes.

“Our community offers maintenance-free living for those who travel or are ready for some relaxation and beautiful single family homes in the same neighborhood for those starting or growing their families,” McCollom said.

Todd Olthof said Olthof Homes is building new homes in Lake County in Cedar Lake’s Centennial subdivision, Crown Point’s Pentwater, Hamilton Square and Covington subdivisions, in St. John’s Lake Hills, Silverleaf, Saddle Creek and North Point subdivisions and in Meadow Gate in the Gates of St. John. In Porter County, Olthof Homes is building in Chesterton’s Duneland Trails and Valparaiso’s Mistwood and Beauty Creek subdivisions.

“Sales are relatively in line with expectations at each location,” Olthof said. “There are buyers evenly spread across the price points for the different home types which is very healthy.”

Olthof said it is nice to see buyers realizing the benefits of buying a home with everything brand new.

“They don’t have to start fixing things around the house the day they move in,” Olthof said. “That gets to be a costly proposition. The new home also has far lower energy bills with the energy efficiencies that come with today’s new construction.”

A recent Metro Study ranked both St. John and Crown Point in the top 15 for new housing starts in the entire Chicago-area market.

Christopher Meyers, Crown Point planning and building administrator, said in 2013 Crown Point issued 190 residential permits with 178 new single family residences, two duplexes and 10 townhomes. Overall residential costs, not including lots, were nearly $48 million in 2013 with an average single family residence construction cost of $252,231.

By subdivision, Meyers said, Regency had 43 single family permits, Waterside Crossing 21, Ellendale Farms 21 single family and one two-unit duplex and Penn Oak 12 single family residences.

In St. John, Town Manager Steve Kil said 102 building permits were issued for single family residences, 38 duplexes, seven townhomes and 10 condominiums last year. Kil said total residential construction value in St. John was $141.3 million.

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