A Building Trend: Bigger Homes on Smaller Lots
River Oaks, which sits comfortably between downtown and uptown Houston is a prime example. It is one of the wealthiest and most expensive historic neighborhoods in Texas. "The median sales price last year was $1.555 million," says Monica Vaca, a Century 21 Realtor in the area who recently gave me and colleagues a tour of the neighborhood and of a spec home on the market for $4.899 million (down about 7.5 percent from its original list price).
The stunning Spanish Revival-style home with stucco-and-stone facade stands tall above the house to its right -- an original home on a block where most were built in the 1920s. But don't let the age of surrounding homes fool you, in River Oaks most are quite massive in-and-of themselves. Still, some are torn down to make room for larger new construction.
Remember, size is all relative. And in keeping with Texas' reputation, there's much that trends bigger there than in other markets. So when it comes to new construction in Texas, new homeowners want "small homes" with lots of big, big rooms, says Will Holder, president of luxury homebuilder Trendmaker Homes.
The spec home at 2240 Inwood Drive, built by Al Ross Luxury Homes, has a whopping 6,315 square feet on a lot size that is merely 11,857 square feet. The average new single-family home sold was built on a lot of 15,456 square feet, which is about a third of an acre.
Holder says that homebuyers will see a lot of new construction where homes are built deep and wide on smaller lots. Al Ross says to differentiate his homes, he is building, a lifestyle not just a home. For example, all of his homes come with a one-year personal concierge maintenance service that offers the homeowner complimentary seasonal flower and plant renewal; driveway and garage concrete cleaning; seasonal spray washing and cleaning of the home's exterior; gutter and fireplace cleanings; light bulb replacement; dryer exhaust cleaning; maintenance of appliances, plumbing and pipes; touch-up of scuffs and scrapes; and attention to any mechanical, technical or electronic issues -- all free of charge for 12 months.
Each home is equipped with such luxury amenities as elevators, energy-efficient air conditioning and heating, backup generators, and state-of-the-art smart home systems that control everything from sprinkler and mosquito systems to sound and video, with the touch of an iPad.
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