A weak economy, dismal job market, foreclosures, declining home values and tight credit conditions are among the factors weighing the national housing market down, and no community has been harder hit than Las Vegas, Nevada. However, during this bleak time in homebuilding history there is a ray of sun shining in Las Vegas. Boutique homebuilder Blue Heron is bucking the national trend by exceeding expectations of home sales in its luxury community, Marquis Las Vegas.
"Eleven of the fourteen custom estates have sold since we launched the community less than one year ago," said Blue Heron Principal, Tyler Jones. He attributes the high number of sales to a variety of factors, including an excellent location, smart home technology, a unique custom design program and perhaps most importantly, energy efficient homes built with the latest construction methods and green building technologies. At the center of the Marquis community is the 2009 New American Home. The show home was constructed for last year’s International Builders Show and was conceived as a "real world laboratory" demonstrating the latest technology in the home building industry to builders from all over the world. Using the most advanced methods, products and materials to construct the home gave Blue Heron a strategic advantage over its Las Vegas competitors as it launched the Marquis community in January of 2009.
When we explain to people that we can build them a home with a power meter that will run backwards and contribute power back to the grid, you can see their eyes light up." Said Jones. "This is powerful technology. In the future, all homes will be built with this type of careful consideration to energy efficiency." Many of the green building methods implemented at Marquis are not available from any other home builder and have allowed Blue Heron to distinguish itself as an industry leader in sustainable design. Marquis offers residents ‘eco-friendly’ features such as solar panels, insulated concrete walls, tankless hot water systems and ultra efficient LED light fixtures, to name a few. The result is the ability to own a "Net Zero" home that creates more electricity than it consumes.
Seeking to offer homes that communicate as well as they insulate, Blue Heron partnered with Microsoft to create a home automation experience that is second to none. The homes are programmed to seamlessly interact with residents and can be controlled through the touch of a button or with a cellular phone. High Definition video is streamed to indoor and outdoor flat screen televisions while security cameras, digital media, lighting systems, and music are controlled through simple touch screen menus. Smart home technology is also linked to the solar panels so that residents can monitor their renewable energy production and see how much carbon they are offsetting in real time.
But according to Jones, building a better home and creating a phenomenal value for buyers isn’t enough to be successful as a homebuilder in 2009. Builders in Las Vegas and across the country have felt the credit crunch as they have tried to secure construction loans while banks tighten up lending requirements and restrict access to capital. In Las Vegas, dozens of homebuilders have filed for bankruptcy this year as their ability to finance new construction and begin viable new communities has evaporated. Blue Heron has dealt with this by diversifying its financing options and utilizing local banks that have supported the company. These few choice banks realize that new home construction is still a good investment when executed properly.
Also contributing to the amazing sales pace at the Marquis community is the focus on outstanding architectural design and something that Blue Heron describes as an "integrated design approach." Jones believes that their sophisticated clients appreciate the thoughtful way that the modern interiors of their homes are integrated seamlessly with the exterior living spaces and the desert contemporary elevations of the homes. This attention to detail and focus on the aesthetic feel of the homes provides an additional value that is not as tangible as the cutting edge technology, but equally important to prospective new homebuyers. Residents at Marquis understand that a well designed home will have a positive impact on their lifestyle and generate a higher resale value in the future as well.
The homes at Marquis Las Vegas are custom designed for each homeowner. Floor plans range from 4,500 to 12,000 square feet, are situated on half-acre lots and priced from $1.2 to $5 Million.