WILMINGTON, N.C., Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Stevens Fine Homes of Wilmington, NC is bucking state and national trends by selling homes and creating jobs in the most challenging housing market in a generation.
Stevens Fine Homes has already sold 110 new homes for $17 million so far this year, including 31 for $6.5 million dollars in August and September – its best performance since the boom of 2005, according to company founder and president Craig Stevens.
With some 60 new homes under construction, the company is also creating over 180 jobs, helping reduce the local unemployment rate, according to Donna Girardot, executive officer of the Wilmington-Cape Fear Home Builders Association.
"Each new home equals 3.05 new jobs to the local workforce," Girardot said. "Their success is helping to lead the local industry through these challenging times and is helping our economy get back on its feet."
The road to recovery has not been easy, Stevens acknowledges.
Like most of America's home builders, his company was hit hard by the recession. After selling a record 325 new homes in 2005, it dropped to just 68 in 2008.
Stevens knew then he had to adapt quickly to evolving market conditions.
"The first thing we did was to bring all of our subcontractors and suppliers in for a big meeting," Stevens said in an interview. "I told them we were all in this together and we had to work together to cut costs without cutting quality. We had to find a way to build better houses for less money. "
Stevens invested heavily in technology and put in a proprietary building process to synchronize material delivery and installation, significantly reducing construction times.
At the same time, he developed a whole new set of floorplans that were an instant hit with home buyers, at prices more aligned with the new market realities.
He also opened a 2,500 square foot Design Studio that gives home buyers the freedom to customize their homes with a variety of finishes, fixtures, flooring and decorative flourishes.
Stevens also made the commitment to go green. The company is the number one builder of Energy Star Plus new homes in the Carolinas, according to Progress Energy. All of the 60 homes it currently has under construction will be built to Energy Star Plus specifications, saving homeowners up to 30-40% on their annual energy bills.
Transforming his company produced immediate and impressive results. Aided by the $8,000 tax credit for first-time buyers, the company rebounded to 128 sales in 2009, and is projecting to continue the upward momentum with over 150 sales for 2010.
"Our whole team of sales agents, project managers, office support and subcontractors are hitting on all cylinders right now and coming together to create phenomenal success," Stevens said.
"Our success has always been built on giving our customers more home for less money," he added. "As long as we stay focused on that formula, the numbers will take care of themselves."
SOURCE Stevens Fine Homes