THREE YEARS AGO, NO PRODUCTION BUILDER IN DENVER would have gotten excited about selling 10.5 units a month. Then, the market lost approximately 50,000 jobs, and housing permits dropped by 8 percent from 2002 to 2003. So Seasons at River Run, a Richmond American Homes community, selling 10.5 units a month—and nearly selling out in five quarters—is cause for celebration.
“In the market economy we're in, that's phenomenal,” says Tammy Richter, regional vice president for sales and marketing of the Denver-based builder.
Several features of the community made it attractive to entry-level and first-time, move-up buyers, the target demographic. The location is convenient to several major commuter routes, shopping, and outdoor recreation at the nearby Cherry Creek Reservoir, the neighborhood is in the desirable Cherry Creek school district, and there was no other community within a 3- to 5-mile radius in the same price point.
“We knew we'd have some pretty high demand [although] I don't think we anticipated the demand we got,” Richter says.
There was one obstacle to selling the community. Forty of the lots back up to Parker Road, a major thoroughfare with traffic whizzing by at 50 to 60 mph. To sell those houses, Richmond American offered central air conditioning as a standard feature; it's traditionally an option in the Denver market.
The models showcasing the six floor plans at Seasons at River Run were built in 43 working days, compared to the builder's average production schedule of 61 working days.
“We were trying to push to get this community open,” Richter says, so they could hit their first-quarter window for sales. “We were all there until 9 o'clock the night before it opened. I was there, the vice president of operations was there. The construction guys were helping us clean windows. With the market as challenging as it's been, it speaks volumes about the collaboration between all the departments to get this community up and running.”
Market: Denver; Project: Seasons at River Run, Centennial, Colo.; Sales started: January 2003; Sales through March 2004: 146; Total units planned: 156; Unit size: 1,300 to 2,200 square feet; Price: $210,000 to $240,000; Builder/Developer/Architect: Richmond American Homes, Denver
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Denver, CO.