K Hovnavian slashing development

I moved this to its own story, from today’s “Links” post, because they represent the second builder (Ryan was first) to announce major changes. Interestingly, while local builders have seemingly made some significant changes to their pricing and development strategies, it is the national builders who seem most affected. Perhaps the smaller builders are more nimble and able to alter their course? Were national builders more prone to over-extending themselves? I don’t yet know, but remain interested in these developments.

The Greene development is K. Hovnavian’s only development (of which I am aware) in the Central Virginia region. Ryan is everywhere in Central Virginia. Their Four Seasons development also represents something our area desperately needs – housing designed for the 55+ segment of our population – so they do have that going for them.

Read the memo here.

These new market conditions have affected us in many ways and will continue to affect us in the months ahead. In the area of land acquisition we have been re-evaluating our current land positions and the contracts for new land in the light of these new conditions. Many of those contracts no longer make good financial sense when you factor in lower prices and a slower sales pace.

Time will tell …

Inman has the story as well.

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14 Comments

  1. TrvlnMn October 9, 2006 at 19:18

    Their Four Seasons development also represents something our area desperately needs – housing designed for the 55+ segment of our population – so they do have that going for them.

    Just a few questions because I might not fully understand:

    -Why is this needed?

    -What’s wrong with the current housing options?

    -How is an age discriminating community beneficial?

    (Greene’s not the only one getting one of these. Orange County is getting one as well.)

  2. C October 9, 2006 at 21:56

    How can segregating age groups in a community be good? It might be my worst nightmare, when I reach a certain age, to be cut off from young people and surrounded by old people. I guess the claim is that these developments aren’t adding kids to the school system…but what about the hospital and emergency service demands.

  3. Waldo Jaquith October 10, 2006 at 00:04

    Age is, oddly, the only basis on which housing discrimination is legal. I don’t believe that old-folks-restricted housing is ever “needed.” If anything, it’s harmful — mixed-age communities are tremendously valuable not only to folks in their declining years who need able-bodied friends and neighbors, but so that younger people can benefit from their experience and knowledge. Nobody’s served by ghettoizing old people.

  4. Jim Duncan October 10, 2006 at 08:02

    This is needed because our region has become a magnet/target for retirees/semi-retirees, for a variety of factors. First and foremost are our medical facilities, climate, cultural offerings, educational opportunities, Jefferson Institute for Lifelong Learning, and more.

    The current housing options are not sufficient for this population. I have not seen all of the Four Seasons floor plans, but I would hope that they meet some of the universal design guidelines.

    I have been working with a couple for almost a year now, searching for the “right” house that meets their needs – I wrote about this last year – single or 1 1/2 story, open floor plan, on a decent-sized lot in a mature development (>.3 acres, no more than 1 acre) close to town. Now, the Four Seasons development meets maybe two of these criteria, but it is more than much of what we have now. Some of the other options are senior condos/apartments – something that not every person >55 wants.

    Regarding age-based discrimination. I honestly don’t know, but I know the market is demanding this product. Talk to the AARP 🙂

    but what about the hospital and emergency service demands.

    I called the Four Seasons rep last year and inquired as to whether they would be offering some form of public transport for the residents … I was met with this response:

    Me: Are you going to be providing any sort of transportation into Charlottesville?
    She: No, that will be up to the homeowner’s association to decide; they can do anything they want.
    Me: I ask because the traffic is pretty bad.
    She: Well, it’s right off of 29; it’s a short drive into Charlottesville.

  5. jm October 10, 2006 at 10:30

    That’s funny – unless they think 45 minutes is a short ride into Charlottesville. The traffic is abymsal and getting worse. I think senior housing is not a great idea, but it would work better if it were in the urban area, not in the boonies.

    This should’ve been in the Forest Lakes area or Avon St area where people could easily get to stores, etc.

  6. TrvlnMn October 10, 2006 at 12:08

    Let’s be clear about one thing. These 55+ developments don’t simply cater to seniors. They cater to “rich” seniors. There is a difference. Greene County already has a high population of seniors who (if past news accounts are correct) are being hurt by the property tax increases developments cause.

    Any single level condo or apartment could be made suitable for seniors with a few modest changes – without any need for CC&R’s specifying “Old Fart’s Only.”

    And I can guarantee you that if I bought an apartment building and/or were selling condo’s and said, “I’m only going to sell to people 45 and younger.” That I would see many lawsuits.

  7. jm October 10, 2006 at 12:11

    TrvlnMn, yes and these rich seniors will vote against property tax increases and certainly anything for the school system. Greene has already seen that too.

  8. Jeremy White October 10, 2006 at 17:00

    In Howard County Maryland there is an explosion of senior housing. They happen to be the nicest developments. They are mostly condos and townhouses. This is great for the seniors in the area because they can sell their single family home to someone for $600K and move into a nice townhouse for $350k to $400K and pocket the rest of the money. Then they can buy those cars and toys they always wanted.

  9. Jim Duncan October 11, 2006 at 07:59

    TrvlnMn, yes and these rich seniors will vote against property tax increases and certainly anything for the school system. Greene has already seen that too.

    And therein lies the unintended consequence.

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  11. Waldo Jaquith October 11, 2006 at 23:04

    This is needed because our region has become a magnet/target for retirees/semi-retirees, for a variety of factors.

    And yet it’s become a magnet without having any such housing, presumably indicating that these people are moving here because they like the housing options.

    Living 45 minutes from services doesn’t make much sense for people who need to be planning for the day when they won’t be able to drive anymore. A population that will collectively age out will not be able to support one another — they’ll have, quite literally, the blind leading the blind.

    Old people can live anywhere in a big old-people ghetto. There are precious few places where they can walk to restaurants, entertainment, educational opportunities, and be surrounded by a diverse (age, race, religion, economic, etc.) population to keep them engaged, active, and happy.

  12. TrvlnMn October 13, 2006 at 01:44

    Living 45 minutes from services doesn’t make much sense for people who need to be planning for the day when they won’t be able to drive anymore.

    You’re right it doesn’t make any sense.

    However if they’re anything like the types of Old Farts in other states where I’ve lived, they won’t be planning on giving up that Drivers Licence. Not at least until they’re near blind and approaching senility and then only after it’s pryed out of their hand by a judge and a few too many traffic accidents and/or a traffic fatality. Until then everyone will have to watch out for the river of cars with “handicap hang tags” and white haired drivers heading down 29 toward cville.

    Worse case- they’ll demand the services come to them. Which will be fine for private business (and bad for anyone who doesn’t want to see more farmland converted to yet more strip malls). But everyone else will end up paying the freight for any of those “services they’re too far from” which might require tax money.

  13. Jim Duncan October 13, 2006 at 12:33

    Regarding the “worse case” – this is what I fear will happen. An open field surrounded by smaller residential communities becomes a large residential development … and then the residents demand everything to come to them. Poor planning and poor implementation. However, there is often little foresight and even less buy-in from some developers who are not local, but are national builders who have little to no investment in the community.

  14. TrvlnMn October 14, 2006 at 18:19

    Poor planning and poor implementation. However, there is often little foresight and even less buy-in from some developers who are not local, but are national builders who have little to no investment in the community.

    And that’s where local government needs to “Step up to the plate”. But for some reason seems to entirely refuse to do so.