Shea Homes opens new housing development in China Grove
CHINA GROVE — Shea Homes, one of the largest home builders in the country, has purchased and re-launched Castlebrooke Farms, a stalled housing development in China Grove.
This month, Shea Homes opened a sales office and model home in the gated neighborhood off Lentz Road, offering minimum one-acre homesites. Shea has two inventory houses under construction and sold one new home last weekend, said John Shea Jr., the company’s fourth generation owner.
This is Shea Homes’ first project in Rowan County.
“We think it’s a great location,” Shea said. “It’s close to Concord, Kannapolis and Salisbury and not far from Charlotte and Greensboro, all thriving communities that we are excited to serve.”
Triune Development LLC was the original developer of Castlebrooke Farms in 2006. Lenders foreclosed on the 85-acre development, and Shea Homes purchased it in August 2012 for $625,000 from the Bank of North Carolina.
Castlebrooke Farms is one of two foreclosed housing developments Shea has purchased. The other is McNairy Pointe in Greensboro.
Local realtors welcome Shea’s arrival in Rowan County, said Cindy Ehrman, past president of the Salisbury-Rowan Association of Realtors.
“It’s a good sign that things are coming back,” Ehrman said.
So far in 2013, Rowan County realtors have closed on 57 single-family homes and town homes, Ehrman said, with another 40 more homes under contract.
“Things have been busy and steady,” she said.
Buyers are feeling more confident, and many real estate agents are cautiously optimistic that the market will continue to improve this year, Ehrman said. For the first time in a long while, all 11 of her properties were shown last weekend, she said.
Nationwide, new home sales surged in January, up almost 16 percent from December in another sign of an improving housing market.
The pace of home sales was almost 29 percent above the January 2012 estimate of 339,000.
Steady job creation and near-record-low mortgage rates are spurring more Americans to buy houses. Sales of previously occupied homes rose to the highest level in five years last year.
The homebuilding industry has been starved for good news for years. Last year’s new home sales totaled 367,000, making 2012 the third lowest year on record for new home sales. They hit record lows in 2011.
Shea said his company is excited about the overall market and the economy. Home sales in 2012 were up 100 percent over 2011, he said, but remain below pre-recession levels.
“I think we will get there at some point,” Shea said.
Two homes were built and occupied when Shea Homes purchased Castlebrooke Farms, so the company left the name, Shea said. A third home is under construction by another builder, and 47 lots from one acre to 17 acres remain, he said.
Roads in the gated community are complete.
Shea said he expects to attract buyers looking for large lots who may work in a nearby city but want to live in a more rural setting.
“There is an element of pent-up demand,” he said.
Some buyers who have wanted to move were waiting because the market has been in decline, he said. Others may have recently become financially eligible to buy a home.
“There are a combination of factors leading to the increase in home buying activity,” Shea said.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.