Value Differentiation between Old, Newer, and New Construction for Condo/Townhouses
As of today, April 22, 2014, there are 55 condo/townhouses that are pending due to close escrow this year. 20 of those 50 condos are new construction. There is a higher demand for new construction for those who realize the better value they are getting as well as a maintenance free home that is up to date in floor plan, materials, finishes, etc.. Here is a list of factors that contribute to a higher value:
- Elevation. As mentioned previously in this blog, the elevation will comply with F.E.M.A. regulations. Older homes may comply as well but over the last few years building codes have changed so it is on a case by case basis. All crawl space is to be made and finished with flood proof materials. No finished living area may exist in the crawl space. For this, crawl space is defined as the space or area beneath the base flood elevation.
- Size. The average lot in Sea Isle City is 50 feet by 110 feet. I will use this size to demonstrate how new construction in Sea Isle City in the last few years have been allowed to have an increased amount of living space from previous years. Under the old code, multiply the total lot size of 5,500 square feet (50 x 110 lot) by .70 (percentage allowable living space) which equals 3,850 total allowable living space or 1,925 square feet per unit. The maximum living space was 70%.
The old code also limited maximum heights to be 30 feet from base flood elevation plus one (1) foot Sea Isle City designated freeboard, as explained earlier, in an A Zone. That was replaced with an increased maximum height of 32 ft. above base flood elevation plus (one) 1 foot Sea Isle City designated freeboard for pitched roofs in an A Zone. New constructions built in the last 3 years are two (2) feet higher than all other condo/townhouse style homes in Sea Isle City.
Increased residential building heights changed the formula for calculating maximum allowable living space to the following: 5,500 (total square feet of lot size 50 by 110) multiplied by .35 (1,925 sq. ft.) multiplied by three (3) which equals 5,775 sq. ft. minus (2) garages totaling 800 sq. ft. which equals (4,975) and divide by two (2) for a side by side which equals 2,487.50 sq. Feet per unit of living space. This is 562.5 feet larger than the units prior to amending the building codes in a typical side by side condo townhouse. In essence what this did was allow the grade level “bonus room” to be above base flood elevation and now be insurable for flood insurance.
- Insulation, Air Flow and Ventilation. For years, small single family bungalows with baseboard heat and asbestos siding were what you would see and if lucky, rent for a couple of weeks in July or August. The musty smell in the unfinished attics and knotty pine was something I liked because that was what the shore smelled and looked like. The best two weeks of the whole year. But, every year my eyes would itch so badly, they blistered. No doubt, I was allergic to the mold and/or mildew smell I was fond of. Many older homes have a musty odor even though they are newer models than the old bungalows. Building materials and building construction has improved gradually but dramatically over the years. They are air tight where they should be with proper ventilation and air flow through out. Bi-level heating and air conditioning systems help keep the climate cool and dry. A good builder will insulate the all interior walls, including closets. Vinyl windows do not fall apart like wood sills do from the salt air, not to mention how easy they are to clean.
- Finishes. Hardwood floors, granite counter tops, tiled bathroom showers, glass shower doors, beautiful soft close drawers and maple cabinetry, wainscoting, crown molding, colonial baseboard trim, window trim, stainless steel appliances, gas fireplaces, elevators, cedar impression siding, stone veneers, masonry pavers, 6 foot vinyl privacy fences, fiberglass decks, covered decks, remote control HVAC, intercoms, surround sound and instant hot water are just some of the standard features in any good builders specification list. If you purchase a home pre-construction, you can personalize it by choosing your own interior and exterior finish selections and appliances.
- Maintenance Free. The exteriors of good new construction will simply need a good power washing every two years or yearly if you are particular. The fiberglass decks may need a recoating of the gel finish if a property is rented and heavily used but other than that, very little needs to be done. Pex water delivery systems are tubes that expand 5 times their size if water freezes so draining pipes and turning water off is not necessary. Each faucet has its own hot or cold water Pex pipe to the manifold where it can be individually controlled. Turn the heat up from home before heading down to the shore instead of freezing in a house that’s been closed up and cold. Winterizing a home is no longer necessary.
- Builder’s Warranty. Every developer is mandated by the State of New Jersey to supply a buyer with a 10 year builder’s warranty. The structure of the house is warranted for the full ten years. Other systems are warranted on a graduated schedule.