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Sable Homes begins construction on previously foreclosed North Rockford Estates


As average home prices sneak back up after their mid-2000s fall from grace, the team at Sable Homes has begun construction on another salvaged development left in limbo after the economic downturn cased previous owners to foreclose. 

Located off of 14 Mile between Ramsdell Drive and Harvard Avenue in Rockford, construction began for the second time on North Rockford Estates. With only six existing homes built by the neighborhood's previous developers, Sable will build 28 new homes to fill the neighborhood's remaining one-acre lots, with prices starting around $175,000. 

This is one of a handful of similar projects the Rockford-based developer returned from forced hiatus, most recently wrapping up construction on the Courtland Township subdivision it bought out of foreclosure in 2013. Sable Homes President John Bitely says the 13 homes it completed in the Stone Crest neighborhood completed its total of 69 successfully. 

"(Stone Crest) was very successful for us, but on the same token, some of that success comes on the back of the economic downturn where previous developers or banks were losing product and so on, but it's created tremendous value for today's consumer," Bitely says. "At some point that's going to go away, but for right now, those that buy are getting a heck of a deal." 

He says the six homeowners currently living in the still largely vacant North Rockford Estates have been responsive to Sable's development plans, which put the focus on its philosophy of making more affordable, energy efficient homes. Bitely says each home Sable builds in North Rockford Estates – in fact, each home Sable builds in general – is rated by independent testers for a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index score prior to going on the market. 

"HERS is kind of like MPG on a car, so the lower the HERS rating the better mileage you get or the less energy you use to heat your home," Bitely says. "We can give (homeowners) specifics for their home based on orientation - whether it's facing east or north or south - or heating and cooling. Also, how many trees on the lot and shade coverage and all of those things."

Rated the third largest in Kent County by Builder Trak Reports, Bitely says Sable managed to come out of the housing crisis on top for two main reasons: the overall value Sable's energy efficient designs create for homeowners in its neighborhoods and the kind of homeownership pride those neighborhoods foster. 

"With the value of the neighborhoods and the way we do things, it creates a sense of homeownership pride, so even though things were tough, people were hanging in there longer and doing more things to stay in our neighborhoods because they just loved living in our communities," he says. "In turn, when they did sell, they could still get just a little bit more than other homes." 

Written by Anya Zentmeyer, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of Sable Homes 

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