Midwest and Sun Belt cities have new developments with amenities like pickleball, lazy rivers
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While a historic home may come with plenty of charm, some luxury buyers may prefer to buy a new build, as they require less maintenance and act as a blank canvas.
So where are the markets with the youngest luxury homes? No surprises: They tend to be cities along the Sun Belt and Midwest, where the luxury market has grown in recent years, as these cities attract more employers and people looking for a lower cost of living. Coastal markets, on the other hand, tend to have older luxury residences, as there’s less room to build, and more established locations tend to be filled with older luxury properties (think Victorian homes in San Francisco or a brownstone in Boston.)
Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh is one of the fastest-growing metros in the country, adding nearly 260,000 residents over the last decade. Known for its technology and finance sectors, Raleigh has attracted companies like Google, Apple and Fidelity Investments in recent years.
Affluent neighborhoods for new builds around Raleigh include North Hills, which features a popular shopping center with upscale boutiques, and Sunset Hills, which features new builds mixed among some of the city’s older homes.
Developers have also created new downtown living options as the city has grown, such as the Dukes at City View townhouses near the hip, brewery-dense WareHouse District, or the Row 12 townhouses in Raleigh’s Olde East Neighborhood.
“The highest concentration of wealth is moving to the west side of Austin, from Westlake Hills to Tarrytown,” said Gary Dolch, an agent for Compass with the Austin Luxury Group.
Some of the newest luxury neighborhoods include Belvedere and Spanish Oaks, where homes go for between $2 and $6 million, typically. There’s also been a surge in valuations in neighborhoods like Zilker and Pack Hills, which have older homes, some of which are being torn down for newer luxury builds.
Downtown’s condo market has also been growing over the last 15 years, and continues to attract empty-nesters and local employees looking for more urban luxury living, as well as corporate relocations. Towers like the Residences at W Austin, the Four Seasons Residences and The Austonian are all popular with luxury buyers.
“There’s just a tremendous amount of growth,” Mr. Dolch said. “We’ve got great industries here and high-paying jobs.”
Austin had 31.1 single-family building permits issued per 10,000 people in the first quarter of 2022, the highest number in the country, according to a Redfin report earlier this year.
Mr. Dolch said that home builders in Austin are keeping busy with a steady stream of custom builds. Speculative builders in the area are still putting up new luxury homes in anticipation of the housing market’s eventual comeback from its recent slowdown.
“Some of the home builders that completely stopped building new specs in the last six months are just coming back now to start and build specs again,” Mr. Dolch said. “They’re all trying to time the market a little bit.”
In Austin, a new trend seems to be sweeping the luxury market: pickleball courts. Mr. Dolch said many neighborhoods are installing them as an amenity, and some luxury home buyers are even adding them to their backyard.
Large outdoor entertaining spaces are also common in new builds.
“Texas has larger lots and more space,” Mr. Dolch said. “It’s a huge draw for people, especially for people now, especially after the pandemic.”
An influx of luxury buyers from California, drawn to Texas for its lifestyle and lack of income tax, are spurring a wave of building around Dallas.
“You’re getting a lot of people from California with a surplus of money because the cost of living was more expensive there,” said Jeff Knox, the founding broker of Knox & Associates.
Many of these buyers are flocking to high-end Dallas suburbs like Argyle and Prosper, which have seen hundreds of new homes built over the last few years. The median list price in Argyle is $599,900, and it’s $825,000 in Prosper.
Dallas home builders are catering to this incoming wave of luxury buyers by putting in new home features like lagoon-style pools with sloping entrances, as well as climate-controlled wine cellars or elevators. Some newer luxury neighborhoods also include amenities like lazy rivers in the community pool area and dog parks.
Even with the cooling in the housing market over the last few months, Mr. Knox says that Dallas’s luxury sector is still active, as many of its buyers pay in cash and are thus less impacted by rising interest rates.
In Nashville, buyers interested in new-builds want to be as close to downtown as possible while still having some space to spread out, said Ivy Vick, a broker with Engel & Volkers there.
That’s made neighborhoods like Forest Hills, around 20 minutes south of downtown, and Green Hills, just a bit north, some of the most popular choices among buyers.
“Their main thing they all say is: ‘We want to be close, don’t want to commute, and we don’t want to spend much time in a car,’” Ms. Vick said.
Many of her new clients are coming from places like New York or other East Coast markets, and are less focused on the size of the home than they are about the home’s look and feel.
“What they’re looking at aren’t these mega-huge homes,” she noted. “They’re really looking at the finishes and the design.”
Most new-builds in Nashville now come with hardwood floors, large kitchens with islands and walk-in pantries with space for small appliances.
Ms. Vick has also sold many new-builds that take on a “modern-brownstone” look. These homes, typically located in the leafy 12 South neighborhood, just south of downtown, tend to go for around $1.6 million, she said.
Via Mansion Global