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VOL. 125 | NO. 120 | Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Builders Look to Vesta for Business Boost

By Eric Smith

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The Memphis Area Home Builders Association gets some much-needed publicity this month with the Vesta Designer Home Showcase, which began over the weekend and runs through July 5.

The home show is being held at Neshoba Grove Subdivision in Germantown, an infill development at the northeast corner of Cordova and Neshoba roads, just west of Germantown Road near the Germantown Performing Arts Centre.

Neshoba Grove was developed by Kircher-Belz Builders LLC, whose principals are Eddie Kircher and Marc Belz.

Neshoba Grove’s Vesta homebuilders are the Longtown Co., whose owner is Jarod Wilder, with a home design by Jeff Bramlett; Landon Homes LLC, whose principal is Jere Duffy, with a home design by Carson Looney; Johnny Williams Construction with a home design by Brad Shapiro; and Tommy Young Construction – Y5 LLC with a home design by Lavelle Walker.

And Kircher-Belz, which built the first of three homes in its own subdivision, had its Vesta home designed by Doug Enoch of T. Douglas Enoch Architect & Associates.

MAHBA created this event to showcase five custom-built homes, all larger and costlier than the typical Memphis-­area listing, but the show aims to get visitors ooh-ing and aah-ing over the homes’ upscale features.

And any kind of buzz for the industry is welcome in light of the recent numbers.

Shelby County homebuilders filed just 57 permits in May, an 8 percent increase from 53 permits in May 2009 but a disappointing 45 percent decline from 104 permits in April, according to real estate information company Chandler Reports, www.chandlerreports.com.

Homes last month averaged 2,847 square feet and $217,156 in value, compared with the May 2009 averages of 2,020 square feet and $194,947 and the April averages of 2,517 square feet and $180,806, respectively.

The Arlington/Lakeland ZIP code 38002 was tops among submarkets with 16 new-home permits averaging 3,319 square feet and $222,612.

It was followed by Cordova North’s 38016 ZIP with 10 permits (2,440, $175,825) and Collierville’s 38017 with eight permits (square footage not available, $303,375); and Raleigh’s 38128 also with eight (1,274, $86,705).

The top builder last month was Charles Morgan of Vintage Homes LLC, which notched nine permits averaging 2,827 square feet and $187,342.

Vintage was followed by a pair of companies with eight permits apiece: Grant Homes (3,217 and $218,752) and Habitat for Humanity (1,274, $86,705).

Habitat’s homes were all built in the Raleigh area of Lake Las Cruces, which came in as the top subdivision in May.

Other subdivisions of note included Carlyle Place in Cordova (six, 2,672 square feet, $187,870) and Raintree in Collierville (four, square footage not available, $273,750).

Although homebuilders clamored for an extension of the homebuyers tax credit, which expired April 30 (homes must close by June 30), that never happened and they saw a quick dropoff.

Now they hope for the market to bounce back – albeit slowly – following a solid April and disappointing May.

The Vesta home show runs Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Tickets ($12 for adults, $5 for children) are available at www.mahba.com or at the gate. A two-day pass is available and the show will be closed July 4.

PROPERTY SALES 98 172 17,556
MORTGAGES 101 194 20,229
BUILDING PERMITS 223 349 36,295
BANKRUPTCIES 52 115 11,279