While other builders may focus only on the negative aspects of today's housing market, Charley Hannah, co-founder of Hannah Bartoletta Homes, has a different view.
"It is widely understood that there are great bargains for those fortunate enough to be buying a new home in a softer market, but there are opportunities for builders as well," Hannah says. "We are using this time to sharpen our focus and become better at what we do. We have been visualizing what we need to look like as a company and where we need to be as a company, as well as deciding which communities would be the best fit for our product as the market recovery begins to take hold in 2008."
In 2004 and 2005, when the housing market was booming, it was a struggle to secure enough quality building materials and trades people to keep pace with the demands of production, Hannah says. For a builder to expand into new communities or into other areas meant having to compete for already limited land and scarce labor.
"As a company, Hannah Bartoletta avoided the temptation to do that because of the inflationary impact it would have had," Hannah says. "We bought a few communities where we were confident of the opportunities but we passed on several places during that time.
"Now we are looking to put together affiliations with communities that make the most sense over the long term, because the shrinking number of inventory homes has convinced us that the market is in the initial stages of recovery, and that the recovery will accelerate as interest rates become even more attractive."
Hannah's confidence in the turnaround of the housing market is reflected in Hannah Bartoletta's decision to build at Lakewood Ranch in Manatee County.
"We feel very good about the communities where we are in the Tampa area, and Lakewood Ranch is only about 30 minutes from where we are building in MiraBay," Hannah says. "It seemed like such an obvious choice to be the first step in our expansions.
"It is a massive and impressively executed master-planned community on a scale that is hard to imagine unless you visit. It is the premier place to be on the west coast of Florida," he says. "We are extremely excited to be part of it."
The 8,500-acre Lakewood Ranch features seven villages that offer a variety of home choices from town homes to estates. The Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club and Athletic Center includes 54 holes of championship golf, a 44,000-square-foot clubhouse, 18 lighted clay tennis courts, an 11,000-square-foot fitness center, a junior Olympic pool and a resort-style pool. Seven parks, an extensive trail and sidewalk system and a variety of other amenities are available for residents' enjoyment.
"It's a complete package. The lifestyle maximizes what people would expect when they decide to move to modern-day Florida," Hannah says. "There isn't anything else on that scale in this area."
Hannah Bartoletta will be building a model in the La Cantera neighborhood in The Country Club village. Many of the home sites in La Cantera feature lake, wetlands or golf course views on ½ to ¾ acres.
"The model will be our first exposure in Lakewood Ranch," Hannah says. "We will offer an alternative choice to the processes of designing and building custom homes that are available in the community.
"We expect the model to have 3,500 to 4,000 square feet of living space and we project that it will open late this year or early 2009."
For information, visit www.hbh.info or call (813) 909-1200.