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Old 05-18-2008, 10:14 AM
63 posts, read 221,971 times
Reputation: 53


Hi Everyone,
I am a WVU alum who is considering a home in Jefferson County for semi-retirement. I have just started looking, but I am seeing that as a result of the current real estate market, prices are down from their highs a couple of years ago. I have always wanted to build a custom home and was thinking of purchasing a lot and then hiring a builder. I do not yet have a builder in mind and this is all preliminary thinking. I know I don't want a tract home.

Question: Does it make more sense in the current market to buy a resale at a reduced price now or to go forward with the lot and custom home idea. In other words, does anyone know if building costs in Jefferson County have dropped along with resale costs? What about costs for purchasing land (one to two acres)? There is a time factor here in that I am still working full-time and most likely wouldn't use the house very much for a couple of years. When I retire I plan to spend part of the year in WV and part of the year in Florida.

I would appreciate thoughts on this, particularly from folks who are familiar with the market in Jefferson County. Your comments are much appreciated.
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Old 05-19-2008, 05:03 AM
Location: Inwood, WV
92 posts, read 263,066 times
Reputation: 56
Here's my opinion: Prior to the recent spike in fuel prices, I would venture to guess
that building costs might have dropped, though not as steeply as resale housing,
during this current slump in the housing market. Land prices have probably not dropped,
or if they have, not by much. When considering building new vs. a resale, you must
also factor in Jefferson County's impact fee, which is applied to new housing units only,
and currently is around $11-12,000.

My community is in Jefferson County, and consists of 42 lots that are 3 acres or more,
and all of the homes were done by one builder, but in no means could they be considered
'tract' homes, since each one is different and were fully customizable by the buyers.
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Old 05-19-2008, 08:24 AM
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
8,639 posts, read 12,454,364 times
Reputation: 9449
For a number of years the market values were higher than the cost to build and I believe now it's flipped around (or corrected/overcorrected). At least that was the market in Berkeley county..


I do know of 3-5 acre lots in a small subdivision near Middleway/Kearneysville that at one time in that not so distant past fetched $120,000 per lot and recently (within the last 6 months or so) failed to auction as low as $70,000. That's a purdy healthy correction... Might be the best time to build.

Best bet would be to talk to a really reputable appraiser for their opinion on the matter.

However if you're planning to live in the 'last' house you'll own, and you have the wherewithall, why not build what you want?
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Old 05-19-2008, 08:29 AM
63 posts, read 221,971 times
Reputation: 53
Good information. Thanks. I did not know about the impact fee. That's a big number and it certainly matters in considering overall cost. I also am encouraged to hear that developments with larger lots can have more unique homes. Here in Florida we spend a lot for houses on postage-stamp sized lots. Our taxes are huge for the amount of land we own.

If you don't mind my asking, what is the name of the builder in your development? Or, can anyone else on the board recommend a good custom builder for the Jefferson County area? Thanks again.
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Old 05-19-2008, 10:34 AM
Location: Inwood, WV
92 posts, read 263,066 times
Reputation: 56
This is my builder, although I don't think they're very active
right now: Welcome to Zachary Homes LLC.
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