I will concede a point here. The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the worst part of any year in which to sell houses. On the other hand, we are enjoying the best house selling market I can ever remember in North Central Texas. I believe they cancel each other out.
The start of only two additional houses in a three week period only serves to further suggest that Homestead is not performing as desired. Is it a "bust?" No, I don't think so, but it's certainly not performing as well as all the hoopla suggested it would.
To revisit some numbers, adding the two new starts to the 18 started on November 6, we now have 20 starts, including two models not for sale, in 22 weeks. Models are not included in "production units." Models are a marketing tool. Therefore, the subdivision has absorbed 18 "production units" in 22 weeks.
I referenced on November 6, the Lennar subdivision across Liberty Grove to the south. The homes were priced at $300K+. They sold and closed 49 houses in 52 weeks for a weekly absorption rate of .942. Currently, Homestead has started 18 production units in 22 weeks for an absorption rate of .818 per week. Clearly, Homestead is running behind the Lennar subdivision.
There are variables. The time that Lennar was building and closing their houses, they enjoyed a really good market. On the other hand, Homestead enjoys an even better market for homes........probably the best I have ever seen for this part of Texas. Homestead also has two top rate builders in the subdivision and the residential market is substantially better than Lennar enjoyed. The Lennar subdivision has huge lots; the largest lots I have seen for many years. The Lennar subdivision just reeks of upper middleclass.
Now, I want to take you back a couple of years.......about the time Rowlett 2020 and Form Base Codes began to enter our lexicon. I was on City Council at the time. Rowlett's blustery City Manager at the time started using the term "over built" in reference to any proposed subdivisions that did not fit her vision. I am an ex-appraiser. I know what "over built" means. It's an appraisal term that is used to identify an overly abundant supply of any type of structure, whether it means an apartment, a type of house, an office building, or a fish bait shop. When an appraiser identifies an "over built" situation, the appraiser starts applying a "economic depreciation" against the property to reduce it's value.
Our previous over bearing City Manager was either horribly incompetent or she was lying to accomplish her desire of getting Rowlett "officialdom" to start following her lead. She wanted Council to start throwing rocks at typical residential development in which everyone in the past seemed to be satisfied with. She fired people that didn't "get on board" and hired people who did.
Well, she got her wish. She proclaimed that all typical subdivisions were "over built," even tho the public was still buying the houses in them. She also proclamed that we didn't have enough "hi-density" housing, which was probably also true, since we didn't have any "hi-density" homes in cow pastures. I can honestly say that none of the many real estate people I know ever complained that their buyers were perplexed because there were no townhouses available for sale.
We now have Form Base Codes. We no longer have large lots with big back yards for kids to pay in. We now are getting lot densities of 6 lots per acre instead of 3 lots per acre. We now have a lot of "green area," but you have to walk to get to them. We can't park cars in the street or in the front driveway. New Homeowners Associations are instructed to make homeowners park in the rear of their homes. There is probably a fine if they don't. I presume visitors are still permitted to visit, but I don't know where they are going to park. Depending on the street, a visitor's car in front of a home will block a firetruck. It is now touted that we have pedestrian friendly walk ways.
Well, let's look at some of those "ideals."
I've taken some shots at Form Base Codes. I am not universally against them. There are some places I like them.......but only in closer urban areas. That's what they were designed for. Some of the marketplace likes the close in homes. There is a market, even in Rowlett, for some. However, not the whole town. I'm just asking "officialdom" to use their heads. We have passed up excellent residential development simply because the developer didn't want to build other than conventional. This is a horrible mistake and its costing Rowlett tax payers lots of money.
No wonder the city is keeping all the tax money earned from escalating home prices. No tax payer got a break.