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Homeowners see new, cheaper models move into the neighborhood

Posted May 14, 2009
Updated May 18, 2009

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— When it comes to housing, no doubt it is a buyer's market right now. People seeking deals drove the average price of a home down 2 percent in the Raleigh area during the first quarter. Durham and Chapel Hill fell nearly 4 percent.

When the developer of a fairly new Orange County neighborhood dropped prices by nearly half, the residents fought back.

Homeowners fight for values in Hillsborough Homeowners fight for values in Hillsborough

“It's a great neighborhood,” homeowner Jeff McQueen said of Kenion Grove.

But lately, there has been a dispute about the future of the subdivision, along the 500 block of Childsberg Way in Hillsborough.

"We are not very happy for this,” homeowner Bernie Galing said.

The troubles started when home builder K.B. Home added some new models. They are less expensive, with features some neighbors don't like, such as fewer windows.

"They are building cereal boxes here,” Galing said.

Two years ago, homes in Kenion Grove were selling priced over $300,000. In September, home prices started at $190,000. Now there are listings in the $130,000s.

"K.B. Homes is selling the houses with a very cheap price,” Galing said.

Neighbors worry about what that could mean for their property values.

"I want to see them keep the character of the neighborhood, keep consistent with the quality of the homes that are already here," McQueen said.

K.B. Regional Public Relations Director Cara Kane said the company is working with homeowners to come up with a compromise. K.B. met with homeowners Thursday evening to discuss a compromise. The company will build smaller homes, of less than 2,000 square feet, with the type of exterior features neighbors want. Those homes will be priced starting at $130,000.

Kane pointed out that sales in the neighborhood are up 50 percent since the newer, less-expensive models debuted.

Homeowners like McQueen say they hope the market will eventually bounce back.

“You just have to not panic and realize that it is going to be fine," he said.


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