Moving on up
Henrico witnesses a boom in high-end housing
Henrico County has seen a surge in the high-end housing market, with about 100 homes priced at more than $750,000 being bought or built in the last year, specifically in the Three Chopt and Tuckahoe magisterial districts.
HHHunt, a home developer based in Henrico, sold multiple homes in its new Ellington Woods community for more than $1 million recently, a trend that George Moore, vice president of development for HHHunt Communities, believes isn’t going to stop any time soon.
“When you talk about higher-priced homes, these areas are very desirable,” Moore said. “The schools in this area of Henrico County are ranked some of the highest in the state of Virginia; there is quality development, and people are looking for attractive communities with landscaping, high end amenities and the nearby services.”
Since the recession ended, developers and realtors have seen an increased interest and demand for higher-end homes, especially within the last two years. Sales of luxury homes are outpacing the rest of the housing market, and many homebuyers are seeking custom built properties.
Westin Estates, a high-end community developed by HHHunt, features custom homes built by JR Walker Homes, a local builder, on acre-plus lots; phase one of the homes already has sold out.
Home-buyers seek out custom builders, such as JR Walker Homes, when they want something specific or to incorporate design elements that aren’t available with merchant building projects, such as elaborate cabinetry.
Jim Walker of JR Walker Homes said the number of people seeking custom designs and eclectic palettes is becoming more and more common, but the demand for higher-end homes is nothing new.
“The demand has always been there, but what we’re seeing is there’s not as much market in the other price points,” said Walker. “This makes the volume in the upper end homes stand out a bit more and the higher-end homes are a stronger element in the market. We are not seeking out high-end projects – we look at whether our customers’ needs are being met.”
Some of the newer high-end homes and lots in Henrico are located in Ellington and Ellington Woods in Wyndham, as well as Westin Estates and Buxton Estates off of Pouncey Tract Road.
“Out here in the Short Pump area the income is such that many folks are looking for opportunities to buy higher priced homes,” said Moore. “Most of the development is taking place in the Nuckols Road, Pouncey Tract Road, and Short Pump corridor. People are looking for an area where the value of their real estate is protected.”
Resales still driving the market
Although new construction of high-end homes is taking place, only about 25 percent of the high-end homes sold in Henrico during the past year were new construction.
The majority of the high-end home sales are resales, and the Tuckahoe and Three Chopt districts are consistently where the upper-end homes are located in Henrico, Richmond Association of Realtors Chief Executive Officer Laura Lafayette said.
“Out of the top 10 sales in [metro] Richmond for the past year, eight of those occurred in Henrico, with the lowest priced home selling for $950,000 and the highest for $1.5 million,” she said. “In Tuckahoe, you have some of the older, more established neighborhoods, and they have always weathered recession. You’ll see new construction especially in Three Chopt that could be in the $750,000-plus price range because of schools and location.”
The increase in high-end homes will produce more tax revenue for the county. But because the trend is taking place in specific localities, a concern is that the middle class in Henrico will be lost if more affordable homes aren’t being built.
Increased costs associated with building homes have hurt all home builders, according to Craig Toalson, CEO of the Home Building Association of Richmond. The housing industry is seeing increased costs in labor, materials and government regulations, he said.
“Increased costs are much harder to put on a buyer that is building $250,000 home versus a buyer that’s building a $900,000 home, thus hurting the first-time homebuyer and move-up home buyer much more,” Toalson said. “Henrico has a history of providing housing for a range of income levels, but we need the first-time home buyer and move-up buyer housing markets to avoid a divide in the county.”
Of the top sales reported by the Richmond Association of Realtors since January 2014, 35 percent have occurred in Henrico, 31 percent in Richmond, 13 percent in Goochland, 7 percent in Chesterfield, 6 percent in Hanover, 4 percent in Powhatan and 2 percent in Charles City and King William.
The average sale price of the top sales in Henrico was about $980,000.
“There’s always a market for homes prices at this high-end range, and the demand keeps growing stronger,” said Lafayette. “The health of a region is about choice, so we want to have price points for everyone. This area has a reputation for excellence, and the housing market will continue to be affected by that.”
Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.
At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.
Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.
The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.
Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.
Citizen Staff Reports 09/15/2014
Henricus Historical Park will commemorate its anniversary during Publick Day, a signature annual event that celebrates the establishment of the second successful English settlement in the New World. In September 1611, Sir Thomas Dale, along with soldiers, tradesmen and farmers, ventured from Jamestown to create the Citie of Henricus. Leaders of Henricus developed the first English hospital, chartered the first college in North America, established tobacco as the first cash crop in Virginia, and created a place where Pocahontas lived and met John Rolfe.
Publick Day will take place Saturday, Sept. 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and parking is $5 per vehicle. > Read more.
Paid extras are being sought to appear in the AMC television series TURN: Washington's Spies, which will begin filming its second season in the Richmond area at the end of September and continue through February.
No experience is required, but producers say that extras must have flexible availability, reliable transportation and a positive attitude.
Arvold Casting is holding an open call on Sunday, Sept. 21 and is seeking men, women and children who are Caucasian, African American and Native American, with thin to average builds and who can realistically portray people living in Revolutionary War times. Long hair is a plus but not a must. > Read more.
For our Top 10 calendar events this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Check out these three B’s in Henrico this weekend: books, bluegrass and “Born Yesterday.” Other activities to participate in – and feel good about – are the 15th annual James River Regional Cleanup and the 5th annual Richmond Out of the Darkness Community Walk. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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CalendarDeep Run Recreation Center, 9900 Ridgefield Pkwy., will host an Open House Art Sampler from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Enjoy a gallery exhibit and try your hand at projects… Full text