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KB, Lennar open doors for a visit

Posted: July 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: July 30, 2011 1:57 a.m.

Opening its third new-home development in Valencia, Tom Di Prima, executive vice president with KB Homes, said the homebuilder is seeing a recovery in some of the top markets — Valencia being one of them.

In a grand opening this weekend, both KB Home and Lennar are opening new home models to the public in the West Creek Village area of Valencia.

For those taking the homes tours today from noon to 3 p.m., Newhall Land is treating visitors to 10 gourmet food trucks, five at each community.

The developer is also offering complimentary Truck Bucks and a chance to win prizes ranging from a $250 Westfield Shopping Center gift card, $250 Pottery Barn gift or a golf foursome at TPC Valencia.

Homebuyers at either neighborhood have access to trails and parks as well as The Club at West Creek, featuring a pool, spa and barbecues.

Homeowners will be able to enroll their children in the new West Creek Academy elementary school.

Easy on pocketbook
Building energy-efficient homes that exceed minimum requirements, KB Homes at Milan at West Hills, a gated community, built Energy Star-qualified homes.

The homes come equipped with standard features including energy efficient appliances, radiant roof barriers, solar panels, tankless water heaters, e-glass windows, moisture-sensitive irrigation systems with drought tolerant landscaping, smog eating tile roofs and LED lights.

Each home also comes with a stucco-covered patio area for outdoor dining.

The energy-efficient home systems are rated, by home, using KB’s Energy Performance Guide system — a measurement similar to the MPG ratings for new vehicles.

The homebuilders’ standard features estimate a homeowner can save up to 33 percent on monthly heating, cooling and water heating costs.

“Affordability can’t start and stop with the price of the home,” Di Prima said.

“If a buyer can afford the mortgage but not the monthly utilities, it’s not affordable,” he said.

Reviving market
KB Homes second quarter revenues were down 27 percent in 2011 compared to the same period in 2010 when new buyer tax credits were offered by the federal and state governments.

But the backlog of homes is dropping as well, indicating that recovery in the new-home market may be gaining speed.

“It appears that the worst of the crisis is behind the homebuilding industry as select markets are showing signs of stability,” said Jeffrey Mezger, president and chief executive officer of KB Homes.

The homebuilder is definitely seeing people buying new homes again, said Di Prima.

More people are shifting from the purchase of resale homes and distressed properties to brand-new homes as they seek homes in good condition, not in need of repairs and that will save them money on their monthly utilities bills, he said.

“Distressed properties aren’t all that cheap,” Di Prima said.

With interest rates at historic lows, it’s an ideal time to buy a home but it’s a matter of consumer confidence becoming stronger, he said.

The potential problem is if confidence ramps up quickly and whether home builders will be positioned to meet the demand of buyers.

“Demand will be unprecedented,” Di Prima said.

Built to Order
The “Built to Order” approach KB uses is based on two components.

One, homes are now built based on detailed homeowner surveys, by geographic area, as to what kind of  features they want in a home, and how much interior space they want a home to include.

Two, KB Homes not only allows buyers to select interior features and materials; but also allow buyers to select a home model and desired home site, marrying the two into the “dream home.”

Buyers are eligible for tax credits on the solar systems installed in each new KB Home, and receive a free 10-year monitoring system of the solar power and energy use.

The homes include living rooms and large open great rooms in addition to a second-story family room, many ensuite bedrooms, home offices and a first-floor ensuite bedroom for guests, in-laws or college student.

Open house
The Lennar built homes opening today as well, Aria at West, include many Energy Star features as well and include a solar package.

“We had such success with the food trucks at the Bridgeport and Creekside Road events, with a booth for KB and Lennar both, we wanted to do this on a smaller scale,” said Marlee Lauffer, senior vice president of marketing and communications with Newhall Land.

KB Homes Milan at West Hills is located at 28857 N. Iron Village Drive, Valencia 91354. The Lennar Aria at West homes are located at 28298 N. Via Sonata Drive in Valencia.


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