Oconee Magazine September 2010 : Page 12
Leigh Hartsell Miller
Today’s economic challenges have been felt across the country, and property owners in the Upstate have not been immune to the changing real estate market. “The economy has changed and what people are wanting for their home is different than even a few years ago,” says Ken Berry, founder and owner of The Berry Group, a home builder located in Six Mile, South Carolina. “There has been a fundamental shift.” Well known for their quality work in the luxury home market in premier developments including The Cliffs Communities and The Reserve at Keowee, Berry’s typical project has been second homes in the $2 – 3 million range. The group has garnered numerous awards for their work including the Home Builders Association of South Carolina’s Pinnacle Awards in 2007, 2008, and 2009.<br /> <br /> Moving forward, Berry predicts people are going to reassess what they are looking for in a second home, downsizing in both price and size, and forecasts more of a weekend getaway cottage-style home in the 1700 – 3000 square foot, $750,000 to 1.5 million price range in the area’s luxury market. “We’re working to develop multiple options for these second homes that still showcase quality architecture and craftsmanship,” Berry says. He sees archiTecture emphasizing simple clean designs with an old-world distinction as key to the quality and aesthetic of the home, and is working with architects to develop ready-to-go plans, including designs for homes in the 3-4000 square foot range, that allow both the property owner and The Berry Group a simpler building process. “We have collectively looked at our experience as group from both the design and build aspect and developed plans based on our combined knowledge of what clients want in a home,” Berry explains. The process incorporates a clean design with outstanding architectural features that can be easily modified to meet individual homeowners lifestyle and tastes. “This makes specifying each detail of the house so much simpler for the client,” Berry adds. The plan allows the client to work directly with not only the builder, but also the architect and interior designer, assisting the client in decision making and allowing for clear communication from the very conception of the project. “The strategy is not only cost-effective, but makes the entire process less overwhelming for the homeowner and allows us to be more efficient,” Berry explains.<br /> <br /> Developers in the area agree that smaller second homes are going to be more in demand. In addition to building in high-end lakefront communiTies, The Berry Group is also working as a ‘signature builder’ for the Patrick Square development in Clemson. A Traditional Neighborhood Development, Patrick Square is a planned neighborhood combining residential and light commercial in a traditional town style designed to foster a sense of community. “I like the unique concept of Patrick Square,” Berry says. “It recalls the neighborhoods of fifty or sixty years ago where people know one another and can walk to shop, dine or play.” The strict architectural guidelines of the development emphasizing traditional styles and character suit Berry’s building style. “This is our niche,” Berry says. “The architectural style gives us the opportunity to showcase our craftsmanship.”<br /> <br /> “I am excited about the challenge of demonstrating the same quality craftsmanship we did at the $2 million range at $500,000 plus price point,” Berry says. This is accomplished through the use of a smaller, simpler designs and different materials – while still emphasizing distinctive quality work.<br /> <br /> Berry has also seen a growth in the demand in the remodeling market. “We are hearing from many clients who want to stay where they are but want to improve what they have,” he says. Remodeling and additions are often requested as folks adapt to growing families and changes in lifestyle. Berry sees this as especially true for both lake homes and homes in and around the Clemson area, where retirees have carefully selected their location because of the climate, natural amenities, and proximity to major cities, but may want to adjust and improve their home. Primary living spaces where folks gather and entertain are often in demand, as are energy-efficient products.<br /> <br /> Today’s market undoubtedly presents challenges for both property owners and builders and developers. Building one’s dream home is attainable using smart strategies emphasizing style, quality, and value.