(To read more on the multifamily market, click here.)

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FISHKILL, NY-Despite a new home sales slowdown in the Northeast,an executive with Toll Brothers Inc.'s New York Metro Division,says sales are up 80% as compared to the same period this year. Thefirm is set to begin construction on its latest venture--the$50-million Regency at Fishkill active adult community--byJune.

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Dan Zalinsky, division senior vice president of the New YorkMetro Division of the Horsham, PA-based homebuilder, says thecondominium development will cater to homeowners aged 55 and up.The project will feature 184 units of one- and two-bedroom homesranging from 1,400 sf to 1,800 sf with garage parking. Prices beginat below $300,000. The site will include eight four-story elevatorresidential buildings, a clubhouse, pool and walking trails.Marketing for the venture will begin later this month.

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The property is located on Merritt Boulevard adjacent to threeof Toll Brothers' seven active development projects in the region:Van Wyck Glen, a 221-unit single-family home condominium project;Van Wyck Meadows, a 318-unit condominium townhome development andVan Wyck Mews, a 337-unit condominium flat, garden apartment styleproject.

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Other active communities being marketed or under construction inthe New York Metro Division include: Hollow Brook Mews, an 85-unitluxury townhome development in Cortlandt Manor; Old HopewellEstates, a 63-unit single-family home project in the Town ofWappinger; Mountain View at Gardiner, a 33-unit single-family homedevelopment in Ulster County and Arlington Hunt, a 48-unitsingle-family home community in the Town of Poughkeepsie inDutchess County. The New York Metro Division of Toll Brothersincludes: Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, Ulster andDutchess counties.

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Zalinsky says the Toll Brothers' housing communities on MerrittBoulevard in Fishkill have been highly successful, even in thecurrent challenging home market, due to its diversity of productand price points. Now with the launch of the Regency active adultcommunity, "We are cautiously optimistic that we will nail thatmarket as well," he says.

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Its garden-style units at Van Wyck Mews are priced in the upper$200,000s range; its townhomes at Van Wyck Meadows are offered inthe upper $300,000s and its Van Wyck Glen single-family units startin the upper $400,000s. Thus far, since marketing began on theprojects in September 2004, 120 of the 221 units at Van Wyck Glenhave been sold, while 148 townhomes of the 318 units at Van WyckMeadows have been purchased to date. Since the launch of marketingin January 2007, 22 of the 337 units projected at Van Wyck Mewshave been sold. That development also includes 20,000 sf ofcommercial space.

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Zalinsky believes the division's diverse product offerings havea lot to do with its 80% increase in gross sales so far in itscurrent fiscal year (began Nov. 1) as compared to the previousyear.

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"We are doing very, very well," he says. "In addition he notesthat sales traffic this year is down 40% from a year ago, which iscommon in the home building industry. "So, we are doing far morewith far less," Zalinsky adds.

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Toll Brothers has plans to launch a new development in OrangeCounty in 2007 and one in Rockland County in 2008. Zalinsky saysthe projects are in the approval process, but he did not provideany further information on the respective developments and theirlocations.

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The company is marketing heavily to the renter market and isalso seeing a good portion of its sales coming from homeownerreferrals. Zalinsky says that like most homebuilders, the divisionincreased its incentives after a "dead" summer '06 season to try toincrease sales. However, due to its performance this year, "Now, weare able to start cutting back on those incentives. And for thefirst time in a year-and-a-half, we have actually had priceincreases on some projects. We are definitely feeling a turn aroundin the market up here," he says.

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Zalinsky currently sees more buying activity in the lower priceranges, while luxury home developments are still struggling. Henotes that Toll Brother's Mountain View at Gardiner luxury projectis not selling as quickly as he would like. The nearly 4,000-sfhomes are priced beginning in the low $500,000s, which isconsidered luxury in that area. Since marketing began about a yearago, just six of the planned 33 homes have been sold.

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While he notes the home sales do not mirror activity levels in2004 or 2005, he believes the market is showing signs of a rebound.In fact, Toll Brothers, which had trimmed staff last year in theNew York Metro Division, is now gearing up to hire newpersonnel.

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John Jordan

John Jordan is a veteran journalist with 36 years of print and digital media experience.