A Great Time To Build
Written May 23, 2009 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Architecture
Construction prices are at historic lows, as described by Tom Russell of Hendricks Architecture.
Something unusual happened to me the other day. I walked out of the local lumber store and was shocked when I looked at the invoice for my purchase. Being shocked by the lumber invoice was not at all unusual, what was unusual is that I was shocked at how much it didn’t cost. My home is a perpetual remodel project, and because I have been buying a lot of material, I watch building material prices closely. I can’t remember when lumber prices have been this low, though it makes sense when you think about it – lumber suppliers have a large surplus due to the lack of demand this past year. Apparently the law of supply and demand is still being enforced.
Local builders that John Hendricks and I have been talking to are finding the same thing. Many of them report that they have been bidding projects 20%-30% lower than they were just a year ago. While lumber prices are a big part of the savings, many builders and their subcontractors are anxious to stay busy and are willing to forgo some profits to do so. Keeping good, valued employees working and maintaining momentum are oft cited rationale for reduced contractor fees. Increased completion is a factor as well. Most of the contractors I know in this area are staying busy preparing bids for clients, many of whom are shopping for the best value for their construction dollar.
Sandpoint, Idaho home by Hendricks Architecture under construction.
RMR Group is a builder in Big Sky, Montana that we maintain contact with. They recently had a client come back to re-bid a home that was not built in 2007 because the price was too high. Due to subcontractor, material, and fuel price reductions, RMR Group’s 2009 price for the exact same house was an amazing 33% lower than it was in 2007.
Quality is as good as it ever was, even with the lower prices. Because of the economy, lower tiered employees and subcontractors have been weeded out. The best employees are being kept, meaning you get the best people on the job.
I’m not an economist, but my sense is that the pendulum of home prices and construction costs has shifted from a historical high point to a new relative low point. I would expect that prices will end up somewhere between the construction boom we were seeing 2 years ago and the bargains we are seeing today. For anyone sitting on the fence waiting to start a big construction project, it would seem that this is as good a time as any we will see in the foreseeable future. I intend to seize the opportunity and build that barn that I have been waiting so long for!
Tom Russell, LEED AP, Project Manager
Hendricks Architecture, mountain architects located in Sandpoint, Idaho.
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Previous Post: Real Estate Market Statistics for Sandpoint, Idaho
Real Estate Market Statistics for Sandpoint, Idaho
Written May 21, 2009 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Sandpoint
Rick Evans, Associate Broker at Tomlinson Sandpoint Sotheby’s International Realty, provided this recent real estate information on Sandpoint:
There are some interesting real estate statistics over the first few months of 2009 in the Selkirk MLS, which includes Sandpoint and all Bonner County.
Year to date through April 20, 2009 there have been a total of 157 closed real estate transactions for a total volume of $41.5 million (includes selling and listing side). This gives an average closing price of just $132,000. Of the 130 residential (non-land) sales during this time, 120 of these were less than $350,000. Only 10 sales in just under four months that were above $350k! That makes me feel pretty good considering I’ve had closings at $675k, with a pending at $850k and another at $450k.
For the month of March there were 29 residential closings, 10 land, and 1 multi-family. Only one of these 29 residential listings closed above $300,000! The numbers definitely indicate that the first time home buyer and entry level buyers are the ones actually buying homes right now. These numbers really start to show why the few buyers at the mid to higher price points are truly in the drivers seat. I think the real sweet spot in the market (from a standpoint of value for buyers) is in the $400 to $900 price range, where many sellers are extremely motivated. The lower price point has enough demand that prices have not had to adjust as significantly. The million and up properties also have not had to adjust as much, simply because many of these property owners own their homes outright and are in a different economic bracket altogether. They simply do not have the same pressures to sell quickly.
Another interesting statistic is that the average sale price as a percentage of FINAL list price is 94%. Average price per ORIGINAL list price is 87%.
This should indicate that once a Seller gets real on listing price, Buyers are not getting a significant price reduction beyond this point. A perfect example is a listing at Schweitzer that started at $1 million a year ago (certainly an aggressive price point), then reduced to $899k, then $799k, and finally to $699k. I learned of this final price drop the day before it hit the MLS, and my Buyer jumped on it and closed at $675k. There were suddenly multiple showings over a few days, and the Seller did not have to reduce significantly beyond the final list price. The message here for Buyers is to work with a good Agent to identify the true values in this market, and when the value is found for a place that fits your needs, be ready to move forward. Don’t expect to necessarily negotiate yet another steep discount if the home is already priced below the market (although it doesn’t hurt to try if you aren’t set on buying that property).
If you find these stats interesting, please let me know. I’d be interested in any insight that others might garner from these figures.
If you are a Seller looking for a real market analysis, I’m happy to provide the figures for you to make an informed decision. If you are a Buyer looking for a ‘deal’, I’m happy to help you locate it.
Previous Post: Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort
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Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort
Written May 12, 2009 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under North Idaho
, Resort Areas
Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort in Sandpoint, Idaho, as described by Tom Russell, an architect at Hendricks Architecture.
The first weekend in April this year was a real treat for Schweitzer Mountain skiers. It was the last weekend of the season, the sky was a cloudless deep blue, and there was new snow on the ground. By the end of the day Sunday, it was 50+ degrees. I stood on top of the Mountain on Sunday afternoon taking in the views of Lake Pend Oreille and Montana to the east . “This is why I live here” I thought. I find myself thinking or saying this an awful lot, and I probably wasn’t the only one at Schweitzer that day who felt lucky to have chosen Sandpoint, Idaho as my home.
The Great Escape Quad at Schweitzer Mountain
It was a busy day at Schweitzer, maybe the busiest of the season, and there were people everywhere enjoying lunch, drinks , live music, the goofy games of “Spring Daze” or the great skiing . Despite the record crowds, I hadn’t stood in a lift line all day, and the slopes never seemed crowded. Schweitzer boasts 2900 acres of terrain, and it takes an awful lot of people to make that feel crowded. The only thing I would have changed that day was to have my family there to enjoy it with me – they were out of town for spring break. Schweitzer is a great family mountain, and we see most of our friends there every weekend.
Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho
Prior to living in Sandpoint, I lived in Colorado and Utah for 20 years. I tolerated big crowds, gridlock traffic, and expensive lift tickets to indulge my skiing habit. I knew Sandpoint had Schweitzer Mountain, and we had been there several times in the summer, but I had no idea how great it was until I skied there. I have been skiing for as long as I can remember, and I have been almost everywhere in the US and Canada. In all honesty, Schweitzer is near the top of my favorites list. I continue to be amazed at how un-crowded, affordable, and accessible it is. For quality of ski terrain, I would compare it to Crested Butte in Colorado, Snow Basin in Utah, and Bridger Bowl in Montana.
Schweitzer Village is only about 10 miles from Sandpoint, Idaho, up a steep mountain road. Its relationship to Sandpoint reminds me of Teton Village near Jackson and the Mountain Village at Telluride. Schweitzer has its own village center, with shops, restaurants, realtor offices, and lodging. It has everything you need, and there is still plenty of growing room for more businesses and accommodations. In the summer they have music festivals, mountain biking, mountain biking races, Frisbee golf, hiking, and lift service to the top of the mountain. Many people live there year round, though most residents are part time and seasonal.
Mountain biking is a popular summer activity at Schweitzer.
One of my favorite aspects of the village is there is still room to move – it isn’t densely developed with homes and condos on every postage stamp sized lot. Schweitzer Land and Timber is planning to build new LEED certified ski in/out timeshare condos in a new open neighborhood right near the base of the new Basin Express Quad. A few new quality developments with sizable lots, ski in access, and incredible views have been created in the last few years. If you are interested in ski area property, check out The Spires & The Ridge at Schweitzer.
When I was a youngster learning to ski on the icy little hills of the Northeast (my Vermont friends might take issue with the little part), I dreamed of heading west to the “real mountains”. I seem to have ended up just where I hoped I would – a place a lot like the little Adirondack town where I came from but on a larger scale. I love Sandpoint, and Schweitzer is one of the biggest reasons why. If you are looking for a place to hang your boards and call home, give Schweitzer a try.
Schweitzer Bluegrass Festival
We design mountain homes of all sizes. If you find yourself falling victim to the charm of Sandpoint and Schweitzer, give us a call. We would love to help you create your mountain home.
Tom Russell, LEED AP
Hendricks Architecture, Mountain Architects in Sandpoint, Idaho
Previous Post: Origins of Mountain Architecture in America
Origins of Mountain Architecture in America
Written May 7, 2009 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Architecture
, Mountain Architecture
At Hendricks Architecture, we specialize in designing luxury mountain style homes and cabins. While it is not the only type of work we design, most of the homes we’ve completed are in mountain resort areas, and most of our clients are looking for mountain style homes, often fairly rustic. Mountain Architecture is a broad term used to describe this rustic style of building, and can be found throughout the western United States and Canada, and in some of the mountainous areas of New York, New England, and the Southeast. For a detailed description of the current style, see Mountain Architecture.
- 1830′s Pioneer Cabin, Pine Mountain, Georgia
The origins of mountain architecture in America came from the earliest non native peoples who chose to venture into the untamed mountainous areas of the country. The structures they built were a direct response to the environment they were in. They had to be made from native materials because transportation means were primitive, and they had to be robust to withstand harsh weather and deep snow. Often the homes were adapted, pragmatic derivatives of homes they had seen or experienced in old Europe or the cities of the Eastern United States. Civilization was slow in coming to the mountains, and early buildings reflected this. Unmilled logs, rough timbers, and natural stone were the norm, and the rustic beauty of these materials became a part of the style.
- Pioneer Cabin in the Appalachian Mountains
One precedent for the mountain architecture we see today began during the industrial revolution in the late 1800′s. In the Adirondack Mountains of New York State, wealthy, educated city dwellers would retreat from the crowded eastern seaboard cities to grand “Great Camps” that were being developed around the numerous lakes in this rugged, untamed wilderness. This early version of “adventure travel” fueled a boom of construction, and grand waterfront lodges that were both lavish and rustic were built on most of the major lakes in the region.
Adirondack Boat House, Upper St. Regis Lake
The camps of the Adirondacks were constructed of native stone and logs or rough hewn boards, often with the bark still on them. Ornate stick-work railings, siding, and furniture were hallmarks of the style, as was creating the appearance of “roughing it” while living quite comfortably in a rugged setting. Adirondack rustic is a distinctive regional style that has endured and is still popular today.
Adirondack Lodge, Heart Lake, New York
Other notable examples of early mountain style architecture can be found in some of the National Parks in the western US. Before automobiles were popular, people would travel by train to visit the national parks of the west, and grand lodges were developed to house the numerous visitors. Iconic buildings like the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone, The Glacier Park Lodge in Montana, The Crater Lake Lodge in Oregon, and the Paradise Inn at Mt. Rainier were pioneering examples of the mountain style on a grand scale.
Glacier Park Lodge, Montana
The Ahwahnee Lodge in Yosemite National Park is a great example of how rustic charm and refined elegance can be brought together and designed to harmonize with its surroundings.
Ahwahnee Lodge in Yosemite
Modern mountain style homes borrow from many different architectural styles. Depending on the Architect, there may be elements of Craftsman/Arts and Crafts, Shingle, Bungalow, Chalet, Prairie, and even early Japanese style in the design. Agrarian building elements like pointed gables, rusted corrugated metal cladding, and wood plank doors are also common in some areas. Regional variations to the mountain style have evolved, often in response to climatic conditions in a particular area. Styles in the mountain west include Colorado Territorial, Montana Ranch, Southwestern, and Pacific Northwest. We have designed homes that borrow from all these styles, depending on where they are located and client preference.
Craftsman Style - The Gamble House in Pasadena
The unique appeal of well designed mountain style homes comes from purposeful use of natural materials, a connection with the outdoors, the appearance of having “grown from the site”, and a strong sense of shelter from the elements. Since people first ventured out of the cities to recreate or live in the mountains, they have found creative ways of using native materials to create buildings that combine the romance of a frontier homestead with the comfort and conveniences of modern life. That is the essence of mountain architecture.
Grand Canyon Ranger Station
For those interested in a more comprehensive history of mountain architecture, an excellent source is Tom Deering’s Masters Thesis from the University of Washington archives. Tom Deering is currently practicing architecture in the Seattle area.
See also recent mountain architecture photos and renderings. If you are interested in having us design you a mountain home, or you have any other inquiries, please contact us.
John Hendricks, Architect AIA
Hendricks Architecture, Idaho mountain architects.
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Previous Post: Mexico Beach House
Mountain Home Developments in British Columbia
Written May 6, 2009 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Mountain Architecture
, Resort Areas
There are several mountain home developments in British Columbia that specify mountain architecture. More than I could possibly mention. I’ll name a few that I know of in Southern and Southeastern BC. This is in response to a comment on Mountain Vacation in Southern British Columbia and Alberta. Those developments in Southwestern BC, including Whistler, will need to be in a future post.
British Columbia Mountain Home Developments
Mountain Home Developments in Southern BC:
Lakestone Resort on Lake Okanagan between Kelowna and Vernon. Luxury lakeside community with some waterfront lots, a Hurdzan Fry signature golf course, village and marina.
Sagebrush Golf and Sporting Club, invite only exclusive resort west of Kelowna on Nicola Lake.
Tobiano on Kamloops Lake. Waterfront community with Thomas McBroom signature golf course, clubhouse and marina.
Red Mountain ski-in and ski-out lots, near Rossland.
Some developments with mountain architecture in Southeastern BC:
Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, a mountain ski and outdoor village in Golden.
Lookout Ridge at Sun Peaks Resort, a skiing, public golf and mountain biking resort.
Whiskey Jack Resort in Sparwood. Fred Couples signature golf course.
Forest Crowne Resort. Resort community in Kimberley.
Wildstone in Cranbrook includes Gary Player and Black Knight designed golf courses.
Mountain Home Developments in Fernie, BC, a town near Sandpoint, Idaho and Whitefish, Montana. Fernie is an outdoor resort community with skiing, golf, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, etc.
Silver Springs Development
Silver Ridge Estates
Black Rock Estates
Fernie Golf Estates
John Hendricks, AIA Architect
Hendricks Architecture, mountain architects in Sandpoint, Idaho.
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Previous Post: Mexico Beach House