That Was Then, This is Now: How We’ve Changed as a Homebuilder
Back in the day (we’re talking the 1990’s) the real estate market for new homes was a lot different than it is today. At that time, we were building neighborhoods on the mainland in areas like Stafford, Little Egg Harbor, and Eagleswood Townships. Every once in a while we had a homeowner that would build a custom home on Long Beach Island, but it was not the norm for our company. Then, in the early 2000’s (around 2003-2005) there was a shift as the real estate market slowed and the economy started to show signs of weakening. This led to the market crash in 2008, which changed everything. Here’s where our new story of building custom homes on Long Beach Island begins.
The neighborhoods we built on the mainland back in the late 90’s consisted of several traditional home designs, on a nice sized piece of property. Buyers could choose a floorplan, and had three different exterior facades to choose from. Most of the homes were 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2-story with two-story entry foyers and attached garages. When the market started to turn, these buyers, whom were very sensitive to the market changes, started to disappear and the demand for these types of homes dried up quickly. Fortunately, we were diversified enough to complete all the homes in our neighborhoods and change our focus to the custom home market on LBI.
Building custom homes on Long Beach Island is a totally different animal. The homes are more complicated in design, everything is custom, buyers have virtually unlimited options for materials and upgrades, and the lots are smaller. The houses are 2-3 times the price and size of the homes we used to build on the mainland. Custom home buyers on LBI are not typically affected by market conditions because many of them are purchasing second, or vacation, homes. These are residences they use on weekends and vacations, for summers, and even sometimes rent out when they aren’t there. Many of these buyers plan to sell their primary residences and eventually retire down on LBI. About half of the families we build homes for on the island have had the property in the family for decades. These customers, through paying off their mortgage or other means, knock down the small bungalow style homes and build new, custom homes. Some of them were damaged by Superstorm Sandy and have been, or are currently being rebuilt. These families enjoy summers with their children and grandchildren, and usually leave LBI in the winter for warmer weather down south.
When it comes to evolving with the times, and adjusting to market conditions, Stonehenge Building & Development has been fortunate. We transformed our company from a mainland neighborhood homebuilder to a custom home builder on Long Beach Island, with hundreds of homes completed over the past two decades. For more information on building a custom home on LBI, or to view our plans, please visit our website.