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Builder debuts homes overlooking riverbed

KB Home continues its ‘build to order’ model for homebuyers

Posted: May 19, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: May 19, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Tom DiPrima of KB homes, right, gives a tour of the great room of Residence 2 on Friday.

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KB Home opened its newest community of new homes Saturday, the Charleston at River Village in Santa Clarita.

Located off Newhall Ranch Road in the Valencia master plan community, one of the nation’s largest builders unveiled consumer trends in its latest “build to order” model homes.

But, with all the options facing new home buyers, the builder has some advice.

“Instead of getting caught up in all the finish-type features like nice countertops – and those styles change over the years – focus on (selecting) features you can’t get from other buyers or something that’s difficult to do later like the accordion patio doors or LED lighting,” said Tom Di Prima, president of the Los Angeles-Ventura Division of KB Home.

Giving buyers a suite of options to customize homes for their personal use – including slightly modifying floor plans – the builder has returned to building larger homes with more bedrooms based on consumer interest surveys it regularly conducts.

Buyers select not only the home model they want, but the lot as well.

The three models, ranging in size up to 4,715 square feet, come with solar energy as a standard feature and sit overlooking the Santa Clara River.

The houses also come with downstairs suites as a standard feature in their homes – bedroom, bath, kitchenette, laundry and more.

The solar power systems installed in the homes can help reduce homeowners reduce their energy bills by up to nearly 70 percent compared to the average resale home, said Di Prima.

Acquired in December 2012 from Newhall Land, developer of master-planned communities, and announced in late March, KB Home teamed up with the developer again to build homes on 54 finished lots.

KB Home likes to work with Newhall Land when they build homes because the community is already in place, like the neighborhood pocket parks, DiPrima said.

“It’s great to be able to demonstrate the “community” to buyers from day one,” he said.

New home construction is a sign that the economy is recovering. But, new home building also helps keep prices in line, DiPrima said in an earlier interview. A shortage of homes for sale drives prices up, he said.

The builder currently has two active new home communities in Santa Clarita, and is wrapping up on three others as those homes are sell out, Di Prima said.

KB Home survived the economic crisis by bringing building times down, he said. But it was tough for everyone.

“Wickes Furniture was in business for 70 years and the recession took them out,” DiPrima said.

But, by constructing new homes more quickly, it allows the builder to construct homes as they are sold.

Reducing the amount of time it takes to build also allowed KB Home to offer buyers the added benefit of being able to do far more customization with the homes they buy today.

Builder interest is picking up, said Marlee Lauffer, senior vice president of marketing and communications for Newhall Land.

“Traffic is up and we have interest from builders in remaining lots,” Lauffer said.

The developer expects another new home community, “Villa Metro,” to debut sometime early in August, she said.
Land won’t last forever, however.

“We still have a few years to continue selling,” Lauffer said. “Newhall Ranch is going to be the future of housing in the SCV.”




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