Building costs, cont.

My earlier post on building costs is beginning to draw comments from builder types who dispute the low numbers but there’s this to consider: I ran a post a few months ago (and I might be stirred to look it up) citing various new houses for sale in Ridgefield, Wilton and those northern fringes that offered houses the size and quality of Greenwich’s new construction at prices two-thirds or less than Greenwich’s. Even accounting for land value differences, it was clear that Greenwich builders were charging double, or more, for their building costs than contractors twenty minutes away. And that’s nonsense. They all buy from the same suppliers, and if Greenwich contractors are  really paying their workmen so much more, hire a northern Fairfield County contractor and let him bring his workmen in – they need and want the work and will doubtless commute for free.


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9 responses to “Building costs, cont.

  1. Greenwich Ex-Pat

    “if Greenwich contractors are really paying their workmen so much more, hire a northern Fairfield County contractor and let him bring his workmen in – they need and want the work and will doubtless commute for free.”

    Well, now you’ve gone and done it, C.

    On a more serious note, do contractors in Fairfield County make use of illegal immigrant labor, as has been done throughout much of the South, Southwest and Northwest? Just wondering. Of course, theoretically, contractors usually don’t dirty their hands that way, but rather let the subs do it. Plausible deniability and all that.

  2. Anonymous

    suggest you hire someone to start your car and taste your food. but it’s a great idea. the old story was that you had to use a greenwich builder because only a greenwich builder would understand the politics of getting the permits and inspections. whether that was ever true is a question we’d all like to have answered.

  3. Anonymous

    Slightly OT, but was recently talking with high-end builders in Dallas (who also have built wkend houses for their TX clients on LA’s Westside): they indicated build costs psf for equal quality are 50% cheaper in Dallas’ elite areas vs LA’s (~$500/sf vs $1000/sf for the really good stuff)….much of cost differences due to environmental/union regs, local “grease” of CA vs a more efficient TX (land costs in upscale Dallas aren’t materially different than upscale SF or LA)

  4. A.O.

    Isn’t this all about “what the market will bear”? Builders in the boom years knew they could charge double and still turn people away. Homeowners were falling all over themselves to spend $ stupidly- witness all the wine cellars, the media rooms, the Peacock kitchens. It may be nonsense that builders charged so much, but it’s insanity that clients readily paid those prices.

  5. Bridgewater - Avon CT

    Look up this development. Italian owner of a mountain sells 0.9 acres for $380 in prime years and build McMansions 5-6000 sq foot homes for under a million. The same house and site in Gwich is 3 or 4 million or more. What a mark-up in Gwich. No pre-fab allowed in Avon. So you do the math rip off developers of Gwich.

  6. XYount

    I live in one of those northern fringes and yes, illegals are regularly picked up over the border in nearby Brewster, or were before the downturn.

    Today, brand-new houses, 2-3 years old, are going begging up here. Even with price cuts of 50+%, they find no takers. Back when things were booming and gas was 5 bucks a gallon, it would have cost any tradesman north of Danbury a pretty penny to commute to a Greenwich construction site. Besides, he didn’t need to. Now, those guys can’t find work anywhere.

    As to why Greenwich real estate is pricier than its northern counterparts, it’s obvious. Greenwich residents have the benefit of living closer to NYC and the Sound, phenomenally low Greenwich taxes, and a certain je ne sais quoi to their ZIP code. It’s no wonder builders charged a premium.

    As A.O. pointed out, the market, when bullish, could bear it.

  7. foobar

    Agree with sentiment, it has everything to do with the market, supply and demand. Greenwich very attractive vs. rest of Gold Coast. Margins for builders no doubt now being squeezed as result of economy – no more Peacock kitchens (and I have one!!)