By BUILDER Magazine Staff. Why it worked: The luxury housing market was hit hard this year, yet this gated community of million-dollar-plus homes continues to sell well thanks to a great location, a sensitive land plan, and traditional designs with updated floor plans.
Local, third and fourth move-up buyers are attracted to the project because it offers more customization options than any of the other big builders' projects in the market.
Buyers are spending an average of $150,000 in options and upgrades. The bulk of that number is flooring (mostly tile) and kitchen appliances.
The builder provides full front-yard landscaping, something its competition does not. And when competing with large re-sale homes with mature landscaping, creating the feel of an established neighborhood is key.
Although it's just minutes from a town full of amenities, the country roads, rolling hills, and old oak trees create a serene, secluded setting. The land plan and grading work with the natural topography, and the 14 floor plans were designed to fit into the nooks in the hillside.
Toll Brothers has its own inside sales staff, but the builder relies heavily on local brokers to get the word out to buyers in the luxury market.
Project: Norris Canyon Estates, San Ramon, Calif.; Sales started: April 2002; Sales through October: 22; Units planned: 289; Price: $1.3 to $1.7 million; Unit size: 3,600 to 6,600 square feet; Developer/Builder/Land planner: Toll Brothers, San Ramon; Architect: Hunt Hale Jones Architects, San Francisco; Landscape architect: Camp & Associates, Walnut Creek, Calif.