Market for Custom Homes on Acreage HEATS UP

Posted September 8, 2020 in Special Features

urban1, Clark County WA real estate agent

By Kristin Dorsett, Special Features Writer, The Columbian

Some local home builders have been noticing increasing demand for custom homes on acreage properties. Cost is one of the primary factors driving this trend. Because of housing prices in the city, people are realizing they can get more for less by building on acreage outside of the city. According to Eric VanderWegen, Custom Homes Manager for Urban NW Homes, many buyers are looking north where land is more affordable.

“We’re doing a lot of builds in Cowlitz County, around Kalama and Woodland,” VanderWegen said. “People can get property for less up there and with river views.” He names Columbia river, East Fork Lewis River, Cowlitz River, and Kalama River as popular sites to build on acreage property with river views.

Since river view properties in the city generally come with a big price tag this seems like a good move for buyers who don’t have a work commute, which could explain why VanderWegen says most of his clients wanting to build on acreage properties are at or near retirement age.

“They are looking to downsize the house size but upsize their privacy and amenities,” Eric said. “They are going from a two level on a standard lot in town to a single level home on acreage.”

He says that the demographic of retirement-age buyers who are shopping for acreage properties aren’t necessarily looking for farm-sized property, but more in the range of two to five acres to put more distance between themselves and neighbors. “A lot of the clients we see in our custom division have been grinding away in their field for years and want more elbow room.”

VanderWegen says that remote workers also account for some of the younger buyers looking for affordable land north of the city. Overall, due to affordability and desire for more space he says it’s reasonable to be seeing retired and remote workers moving north now.

Because of this market trend, builders like Urban NW Homes are turning their focus to meet the needs of buyers looking to build custom homes on acreage properties.

“We’ve been growing our custom home division organically over recent years,” Eric said. He says one way the company meets the needs of their clients is by expanding their services to help acreage property buyers.

Urban NW Homes offers complimentary services to help clients in their search for land, and for clients who have already purchased land the company will visit the site to look for possible problems such as slope or utilities.

“We do this to get a sense of what we’re doing for a client,” he said. “Some builders charge for that service or won’t do that until after you’re under contract. It’s a complimentary service we offer so that we can quote the most accurate price.”

After the site visit and the contract to build the custom home is signed, clients can select from available floorplans and customize them, bring a plan of their own, or even draw a plan from scratch with the help of Urban NW Homes’ team of drafters and architects. The company also offers interior design services with Jenna Kauzlaric, design specialist for Urban NW Homes.

“She goes to design meetings, she meets with the vendors of cabinets and flooring and back splashes and lighting and plumbing and all of the suppliers to help clients achieve the goal of creating the home they’re looking for,” said VanderWegen.

“Jenna is super easy to work with,” he said. “And she is budget friendly. Customers can show her a Pinterest board and she’ll assist with selections that allow clients to stay within that budget.”

For people interested in having Urban NW Homes build a custom home on acreage property, Eric VanderWegen says that the company is building all over Clark County including Washougal and Camas. He invites interested buyers who have purchased property and those who have just started looking for land to visit their model homes at Urban Pointe in northeast Vancouver and the newest one being built at Columbia Palisades, a new home community in Camas with panoramic Columbia River views.

“Visiting us is the best way to start. Our process is we like to meet with clients right up front to give advice and talk through the process,” he said.

Urban NW Homes builds custom homes in a wide range of price points from $500,000 to multimillion dollar homes.