Seattle's reputation as a talent magnet and tech epicenter continues to spur a healthy housing market, attracting builders to the Puget Sound area. The latest is Pacific Lifestyle Homes, a Vancouver, Wash.-based builder, which announced its expansion to the area under the brand name Garret Custom Homes this September.
As a build-to-suit, scattered lot builder, Garret Custom Homes will step relatively unchallenged into the market. The new office will be led by longtime company executive Matt Lewis.
“The Garret Homes brand is an easier way to make an entrance to a new market,” says Lewis, citing land constraints in the Seattle-Takoma area, “Building on an individual lot basis has put us in a really nice space.”
Garret Custom Homes will target second, third, or last homes for the 55+ segment.
“We see a lot of empty nesters,” says Lewis, “There’s a huge demand for people to move out of the massive two-story home they bought in 1986 and have something a little simpler.”
After emerging successfully from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009, Pacific Lifestyle Homes scaled down the size of its homes and narrowed its focus. Todd Britsch, president of Seattle-based New Home Trends, says the team at Pacific Lifestyle Homes has since “nailed” their niche of single-story homes aimed at the active adult. Well-crafted ramblers with master bedrooms on the main floor have become a signature of the company. Britsch also confirms healthy activity in Seattle’s aging adult market:
“Qualitative mortgages made it much more difficult for the entry-level home buyer to buy new construction based on the land restrictions we have here inside of Puget sound, forcing them into the resale market," Britsch says. "Individuals that were protected from the downturn, being that they’ve been in their home for a number of years, are now selling their homes and downsizing.”
Kevin Wann, president of Pacific Lifestyle Homes, is optimistic the brand will thrive in a market so similar to Portland.
“I put a lot of my trust in Matt," says Wann. "He’s from the area, and I believe real estate is a local business.”
Currently, Matt Lewis is working with a staff of two out of the new Seattle office.