Tom Brady and Gisele's Custom-Built Castle

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Supermodel Gisele Bündchen and her hubby, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, are that much closer to seeing the completion of their 22,000-square-foot, Los Angeles home now that the roof is on.

Custom-built homes, like theirs in the Brentwood neighborhood overlooking Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's house, comprise 30 percent of the housing market. That's up from 20 percent during the boom years, says Donna Reichle, a spokesperson for the National Association of Home Builders. "Obviously that is an increased share of a much-diminished total market," she told HousingWatch.

Although the housing market is not as robust as it was, and homebuilders are among those suffering in its decline, they are feeling more confident about the market, says a recent NAHB survey. Homebuilder confidence is up three points, its first increase in five months.
"Builders are starting to see some flickers of interest among potential buyers, and are hopeful that this interest will translate to more sales in the coming months," said NAHB Chairman Bob Jones, a homebuilder in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. "However, because most builders still have no access to credit for building homes, there is a real concern that we will not be able to meet the pent-up demand when consumers are ready to get back in the market.

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"The toughest obstacles for homebuilders really come down to financing – the scarcity of construction credit for builders along with tougher mortgage requirements for consumers," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe in a release.

Although Reichle says that the NAHB does not have numbers on the percentage of wealthy homeowners seeking the custom-build route, on the surface it would seem that those with a hefty amount saved up are able to afford to build a true custom home, because they have the upfront cash.

Bundchen made a reported $25 million last year, and Brady is in his last season of a six-year, $60 million contract, according to the Boston Herald. Given their incomes, there aren't many who will be able to build a custom home as grand as the Brady-Bundchen plans. (And some athletes can't keep up with the payments, as HousingWatch discusses in "Sports Stars: From Homebuyers to Renters.")

Being built on a 3.75-acre property by Boston-based Suffolk Construction, the home is estimated to cost $20 million to build, not including the $11 million that the super couple spent on the land. The eight-bedroom, Mediterranean-style home will have an elevator and covered bridge connecting two parts of the two-story house, as well as a cardio-room, a weight room and a lagoon-shaped pool with spa.

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