Sensing a shift in the Washington-area real estate market, officials at luxury home builder the Gulick Group say they are repositioning the Reston-based firm from developing large subdivisions to building individual homes.
“It’s a natural transition” says Jamie Gulick, the vice president of sales and marketing for the company. “We’ve always been focused on the affluent D.C. suburbs. Building communities in those places has declined.”
That’s in part because there’s less space available and the market for building communities may be saturated. In 2004, when Gulick was focusing on building communities, the company constructed 60 homes in a year. Now, that number is half that.
Still, Gulick says there is a need for luxury homes.
Gulick has built one-off homes occasionally for buyers in the past, but that hasn’t been the company’s focus. Now Gulick expects half of the company’s business this year to come from individual home buyers.
“The market [for building high-end homes] is underserved,” he said. “Most custom builders are smaller and [a client] is either buying an already done home or buying a plan.” That’s what sets the company apart, Gulick says. Buyers don’t have to look at a model of a home. They can see an actual home. In the past four years, Gulick has completed four residential communities in Virginia that showcase 10 different home designs.
“The person who comes to us typically knows what we do,” Gulick says.
There is flexibility within the home designs, Gulick says, and buyers have requested things such as a second master bedroom, a master suite on the first floor or a large laundry room on the second floor.
The challenge for Gulick now is finding property to build such million dollar homes.
“There’s always premium properties, you just have to find them,” he says.
Right now Gulick is mulling ideas for a five-acre property he owns on Insbuck Road in Great Falls. He says he is considering a 12,000-square-foot home with a pool and an outside kitchen. He says he receives more than half a dozen calls from real estate agents about the property a week.
Gulik has built about 750 homes since the company started in 1984. “[The individual home] has been a small portion of what we do but will be a bigger portion moving forward,” Gulick says.