“If the homes we live in stand as a sort of barometer to our personalities and attitudes, then hooray for us,” said local real estate agent Angie Ripley, “because when it comes to new construction, today’s homebuyers seem to be pushing toward a mindset that’s becoming more practical and grounded in reality.”
That new reality, Ripley said, is a far departure from what many people in the industry refer to as “the McMansion era,” where homeowners opted for masses of square footage just for the sake of having square footage. The current market desire is for open, warm and comfortable spaces that are also practical and tailored to a buyer’s particular lifestyle.
According to recent homebuyer preference surveys conducted by The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), energy efficiency was a frequent characteristic on the “Most Wanted List,” with approximately 94 percent of respondents desiring Energy Star-rated appliances, 89 percent desiring Energy Star-rated windows and 91 percent desiring high overall Energy Star ratings for the entire home.
This focus is significant because incorporating energy efficient features, which also include tight construction and ducts, light colored exterior paint, eco-friendly heating and cooling equipment, effective insulation, and cool roofing, just to name a few, can reflect a minimum of 30 percent more energy efficiency than homes built to the national energy code.
Better ways to clear clutter with dedicated laundry rooms, bathroom linen closets, walk-in pantries in the kitchen and garage storage were also reflected in the surveys as high priorities.
Cottonwood Canyon, in Lenexa just west of Interstate 435 off of Prairie Star Parkway/95th Street, was designed with these types of buyers in mind.
“We have been so successful here, because the neighborhood really caters to that savvy buyer,” said Ripley, who markets Cottonwood Canyon with Nita Criswell, “ … a buyer looking beyond a huge amount of square footage for a relaxing, tranquil, beautiful way of life.”
What prospective buyers will find at Cottonwood Canyon is a captivating environment set on 300 picturesque acres of beautiful rolling hill terrain and forests, surrounded by the beauty of Canyon Farms Golf Club, adjacent to the Johnson County Trail System and near the 1,660-acre Shawnee Mission Park.
The community encompasses two residential neighborhoods: The Lake and The Village. Prospective buyers can find homes in The Lake ranging from $600,000 to over $1 million, and homes in The Village from $450,000 and up.
"Many of the remaining lots overlook what the developer calls ‘The Canyon,’ consisting of golf greens 3 and 5 featuring eye-catching terrain variations including rock ledges, waterscapes, manicured greens and lots of naturally landscaped areas with mature trees.
The homes themselves incorporate distinctive, open design plans from some of Kansas City’s premier builders, including B.L. Rieke Custom Homes, Starr Homes, Befort Construction, Don Julian Builders, Reed Fuller Construction, J.S. Robinson Fine Homes and Rodrock Homes.
These plans typically feature spacious kitchens that flow into the dining areas and living rooms, which also speak to today’s homebuyer’s needs, desires and lifestyles.
“The kitchen is where many people not only cook, but entertain and live,” Ripley said. “In that respect, and based on the NAHB surveys, buyers can expect to see more homes with these types of open floor plans that reflect casual, yet elegant living that makes the kitchen the center of the home.”
Another big draw to Cottonwood Canyon is that it is a maintenance-provided community where the low $150 per month homeowner association dues cover snow removal and complete lawn care. Future development will include more walking trails and neighborhood gathering areas.
Prices: From $450,000 to over $1 million.
Location: One mile west of Interstate 435 on 95th Street/Prairie Star Parkway in Lenexa.
Hours: 12-5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday or by appointment.
Contact: Angie Ripley or Nita Criswell at 913-492-4444 or firstname.lastname@example.org.