Million-dollar home market 'extremely hot' in parts of southwest Ohio

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Oct. 27—Luxury and custom home building is a very active market in parts of the southwest Ohio region, as many home buyers are looking to upgrade into larger homes on larger lots.

Ron Sweeney, owner of Coldwell Banker Heritage, said in the Springboro ZIP code of 45066 , luxury/custom home sales have been increasing the past four to five years. He said his firm has sold more homes at $1 million and $2 million-plus than ever before.

Sweeney said all-time highs on the stock market and historic low interest rates have fueled interest in high-end homes. He said luxury home inventory is low, and those homes are moving the fastest this year. During the pandemic, a lot of people have been staying home more, with some upgrading their current home by adding a pool, but others deciding to buy a larger home.

"Some want some land and a little bit of space," he said. "But we still have a neighborhood and a lot of people like living in townships."

Sweeney said the market is hot in northern Warren County and is also pushing east into Clinton County. He said when one development gets sold out, buyers move on to the next one.

One of the newest developments, The Reserve at Cedar Ridge, will have 24 wooded lots with luxury homes starting at $900,000. The development constructed by Mason-based custom homebuilder Justin Doyle Homes will be located at 580 Ohio 73, between Bunnell Hill Road and Ohio 48 in Clearcreek Twp.

Megan Allen, Justin Doyle Homes' marketing coordinator, said lot sizes will range from one to four acres and each home will be 2,758 square feet or larger. She said each home will have two-car to four-car garages, two to six bedrooms and up to five bathrooms. Allen said there are several designs available or a buyer can have their home custom-designed "from scratch."

Allen said nearly half of the lots have been sold.

"The demand is very high in this community and homes are selling very quickly," Allen said. "We are very proud to be building in this community."

Melissa Zimmer, broker and vice president of sales and marketing for Coldwell Banker Heritage, said the northern Warren County market is a "tweener market" because of its location between Dayton and Cincinnati. Zimmer said the market is very brisk as a lot of people in a wide variety of occupations such as business and technology fields are buying these homes.

Gina Coates of Coates Custom Homes, said the luxury home market is hot and agreed with Sweeney how the pandemic has driven this market. She said there are several high-end developments throughout the region and tremendous growth is being seen throughout Warren, Montgomery, Greene and Miami counties.

"Since the pandemic more people are working from home and want everything under one roof — office, exercise room, gourmet kitchens and outdoor living space including pools," she said. "The area offers great schools and easy access to both the Dayton and Cincinnati area."

Coates said the luxury subdivisions bring more money and recognition to older areas where people may have not previously considered moving.

"Typically higher-end communities appeal to second-time home buyers or people looking for their 'forever' home," she said. "They are willing to invest a little more for good schools, accessibility to work and great amenities for their children."

Brian Albrecht of Rhoads Estate Homes and Albrecht Wood Interiors, described the luxury/custom market as "extremely" hot.

"With low interest rates, people who used to pay cash for million-dollar homes are now jumping at the chance to take out a low-interest loan and keep their money in the market," Albrecht said. "It also doesn't hurt that those buyers are typically heavily invested in the stock market and it has been pretty favorable the past few years, so they likely have a little more money to play with, which has helped keep them active in a volatile and expensive building market."

Albrecht thinks the Warren County area draws people there specifically because they are the areas with the most land for development.

"Most of the communities south of Dayton are fairly well built and finding a lot can be difficult, especially when many of the luxury home buyers want a little more land," he said. "With development expanding further and further south, and further north from Cincinnati, I think people see the promise of those areas and no longer feel like they will need to commute all that far for amenities."

Developments with luxury/custom homes bring people with disposable income to the area.

"These are people that eat out, shop, and just spend money in ways that others typically don't, providing the city with an influx of revenue since people usually spend their money near where they live," he said.

"Our typical clients are business owners or medical professionals looking for their first or second luxury home as their lives change," Albrecht said. "Nowadays with so much work being done from home, people are spending more of their time there than ever before, and those with the means, want that space to be as comfortable as it can be and are willing to invest in it."

Albrecht said there are pockets of high-end homes around the Dayton area in a variety of communities. He said it often comes down to simply finding the space to build homes like these.

Matt Clark, Clearcreek Twp. administrator, said people building high-end luxury homes is not a new phenomenon.

"We've always had many, many high-end homes in the township, so this is nothing new to us," Clark said. "We have a number of these types of developments such as Country Brook, Cyprus Ridge and Auteur Estates."

Clark said Justin Doyle Homes is also building two other homes on nearby Bunnell Hill Road. He said having high-end homes values adds to the overall property valuation of the township.

"It's critically important for the township to have solid property values as those tax revenues fund the township to provide services," Clark said. "If you're looking for high-end housing, come to Clearcreek Twp."

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