KIRO radio ran a mildly interesting piece about a spec builder in my neighborhood with especially poor timing: Local spec homes sit empty, cheap.
What started as a fun project turned into a nightmare for a builder in Kenmore.
Ken Youch, with Kenmar Construction, is happy to give tours of any one of the million dollar houses he has built in Kenmore.
“They’re absolutely beautiful homes that we built when the market was booming. This is my very first attempt at spec building,” he said.
It is also his last. Like many builders across the Puget Sound, Youch is losing a lot of money on these three sister homes. All were priced over one million dollars and now they’re going at about $500,000 lower.
The houses in question are 7320, 7328, and 7332 on NE 150th St in Kenmore, for which the builder is asking $674k, $679k, and $699k, respectively (as a side note, KIRO clearly has a different definition of “cheap” than I do). Cumulative days on market for each of the three properties is in excess of 440. He purchased the lots in April and July 2007 for $262,500, $265,175, and $267,200.
July 2007. If that rings a bell to anyone, it might be because it was the peak month for Seattle-area home prices. Granted, we only know that thanks to the benefit of hindsight, but even at the time the writing was on the wall for anyone paying attention.
Are we supposed to feel sorry for this builder for getting caught up in the mania and failing to do his research before jumping in head first to an expensive and risky venture like this? That seems to be the angle of this piece, but to be honest, I’m not feeling it.
At least he hasn’t gone into foreclosure yet, so he must have the financial strength to stand behind his risky move. Also, he doesn’t appear to be angling for a bailout, so while I question his business sense, I respect his apparent willingness to take responsibility for his decisions.