Builder sales representatives at Sweetwater, the new master-planned community in the Austin area, are seeing a trend: growing preference among Austin new home buyers for single-story plans.
“This is a local trend that is also being seen nationwide,” said Sweetwater spokesperson Kathy Mayer. “Across the country, many buyers are looking for new homes without stairs when they’re choosing where to live.”
Home builders have long noted the preference among empty nesters and older buyers who don’t want to climb stairs to go from one part of the house to another. And even family buyers have for many years preferred homes with downstairs master bedrooms. But now, builder sales representatives are hearing from parents who say they want the kids downstairs, too.
“It’s easier for Mom and Dad to keep tabs on them,” Mayer explains.
The challenge in building one-story homes large enough for families has always been affordability. Bigger lots are required to get the same square footage of a two-story home onto just one story, and bigger lots usually are more expensive.
“In a fast-growing, high-demand housing market such as Austin, it’s almost impossible to find newer and nicer one-story homes close in that middle-income families can afford,” says Mayer.
The six builders currently constructing homes at Sweetwater – Ashton Woods, Coventry, David Weekley, Drees Custom Homes, Ryland and Taylor Morrison – have responded with more than 20 one-story plans, ranging in size from 1,670 to 3,400 square feet. Prices at Sweetwater range from the $250s to the $600s.
That’s not to say the builders are abandoning the multi-story segment of the Austin new homes market. Together, they have more than two dozen two-story plans in their Sweetwater portfolios. Many of their one-story plans also include second-floor options for adding a bonus room, home theater or extra bedroom. Home plans can be viewed online at the Sweetwater HomeFinder.
“Despite the interest in one-story living, there clearly are advantages to building up,” said Mayer. “One of our model homes, for instance, is a two-story with a large balcony on the second floor. It’s a lovely place to relax and enjoy the view of the hills and canyons of Sweetwater.”