Posted: 12:01 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012

Luxury home sales struggle to recover


Luxury home sales photo
Developer David Klass inside a $3 million home in Clearcreek Twp.which includes a bowling alley, lighted dance floor, gym and a shower in the master bedroom with a built in fish tank. -- Staff Photo by Ty Greenlees
Luxury home sales photo
Artisan Estate Homes project manager Josh Agricola talks about the round fish tank that will be built into this $3 million home in Clearcreek Twp.which includes a bowling alley, lighted dance floor and gym. -- Staff Photo by Ty Greenlees
Highest priced home listings in Dayton area photo
Homes listed for sale as of 6 p.m. Dec. 12 in Greene, Miami, Montgomery and northern Warren counties. Excludes Butler, Preble and Darke counties and anything south of Lebanon

By Chelsey Levingston

While existing luxury homes are languishing on the market, area builders say they are seeing renewed interest in new million-dollar mansions.

Sales of existing homes for $500,000 to $1 million in price are still down this year, according to statistics of sales recorded with Dayton’s Multiple Listing Service through the Dayton Area Board of Realtors. Through the end of November in the Dayton market, 51 homes sold in that price range. More than twice that many houses, 111, sold in 2007 for that amount, according to figures from the MLS provided by David Klass, president of Dominus Development and a developer of high-end homes.

Homes $500,000 and above are considered luxury in the Dayton market, he said.

Gay Spiegel, a real estate agent for Irongate Inc. Realtors said, “The high end is taking a harder hit than the houses around $100,000, $120,000,” which is the Dayton area’s average sales price. “The higher you go in price, the slimmer the market gets.”

The highest list price in the Dayton market this past week was $2,520,000 for a 42-acre farm property on National Road in Vandalia.

The second highest is listed by Jackie Halderman, co-owner of The Realty Group. It’s an 8,650-square-foot house in Bethel Twp., in Miami County, on 38 acres with a five-acre lake listed for $1,985,000.

“It is probably one of the most stunning properties I have ever seen. And if it were sitting in south Dayton, it would probably be closer to $3 million,” Halderman said.

Things are looking better, but “are the prices back to where they were though? No, they’re not there yet,” she said. “Buyers are looking for the $500,000 deal they can get on a house bought for $650,000 five years ago.”

Klass said several lots are sold at his housing development Auteur Estates in Clearcreek Twp. in Warren County, but sit empty because “these people can’t sell their houses. They can’t take a $1.25 million construction loan and still pay their mortgage.”

Artisan Estate Homes of Liberty Twp. is building an approximately $3 million, 15,000-square-foot house at Auteur Estates. The house features a bowling alley, a dance floor that lights up when someone steps on it and a multi-tiered pool with a swim-up bar. That’s just the bottom level. The living space on the second level comes complete with a master suite, outdoor patio, library and aquarium.

The buyer owns his own business, the builder said. Construction will be finished in time to be part of next year’s Homearama home show.

Custom homebuilder Rick Seitz, co-owner of Artisan, said there are two main reasons buyers want to build these expensive homes today even though the economy’s not great: They say, “we’re not going to put our lives on hold anymore,” Seitz said. And “if I’m going to spend that kind of money, I want what I want.”

That helps explain why custom home construction in the upper end of the market is showing signs of life, said Bob Rhoads, co-owner of R.A. Rhoads Inc. Custom Homes of Centerville. Rhoads said his company has seven homes under construction now, including two multi-million homes, and more homes on the drawing board.

This year’s improving business is still a far cry from the average 20 houses Rhoads had under construction at any given time before the housing market collapsed.

Builders are pressured by rising prices for building material and weak profit margins. But this year they’ve benefited from a dwindling supply of good-quality existing homes on the market and increased lending, Rhoads said.

The number of building permits issued this year in the same Dayton area of Greene, Miami and Montgomery counties and northern Warren County reached 46 permits for projects valued at $500,000 to $1 million through the end of November. In all of 2010, 33 permits were issued in the same price range, according to NorthPointe Group DataQuest.

NorthPointe is a Cincinnati real estate firm that tracks permit data for Home Builders Association of Dayton. The firm didn’t start tracking building permits until 2010.

“There’s actually quite a few homes in the multi-million range under construction. Those were nonexistent for the last four years,” Rhoads said. “They’re coming from smaller homes and now they want to build their dream home.”

Dayton area’s highest priced residential listings

*Homes listed for sale as of 6 p.m. Dec. 12 in Greene, Miami, Montgomery and northern Warren counties

Excludes Butler, Preble and Darke counties and anything south of Lebanon

1. $2,520,000

2858 W. National Rd., Butler Twp.

3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1,296-square-feet farm house built in 1870

42-acre farm total, with detached garage, pole barn and other bank barn

2. $1,985,000

Bethel Twp.

7590 E. New Carlisle Rd., Bethel Twp.

4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, 8,650-square-feet built in 1995

38 acres, with 5-acre lake, infinity-edge pool, garage with room for 10 cars and carriage house

Listing Agent Jackie Halderman, The Realty Group

3. $1,875,000

4953 Bunnell Hill Rd., Lebanon

3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, 4,476-square-feet built in 1997

57-acre horse/farm estate, with horse barn with stables, office, tack room, equipment garage, two ponds, running creek provides fresh water to horses and livestock

Listing agent David Klass, Dominus Development and Commercial Realty Associates

4. $1,490,000

10601 Sunderland Woods Ct., Washington Twp.

5 bedrooms, 6 full/2 half baths, 11,383-square-feet built in 2005

Built by R. A. Rhoades for the 2005 Homearama home show with theater room, closed circuit cameras, gated courtyard, finished carriage house and custom wood work

Co-listing agent Gay Spiegel, Irongate Inc. Realtors

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