- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 15, 2005

Starter homes, larger homes, retirement communities, investment opportunities — all can be found on the Delmarva Peninsula, where thousands of homes are planned or are under construction in more than 50 new communities.

New-home communities are sprouting near the rivers, bays and beaches of Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.

DELAWARE

Many of the new-home developments are in Delaware, which has the appeal of no sales tax and other tax advantages, especially for retirees. Certain amounts of pension income are excluded from taxable income for those older than 60.

With an eye on baby boomers, builders are providing recreational amenities, low-maintenance town-home-style condominiums, or “carriage homes,” as some upscale town homes are called, and single-family homes with master bedrooms on the first floor.

Jane Crawley and Gary Bennett moved from Salisbury, Md., into a new carriage-style town house at Bayside at Bethany Lakes, a Toll Bros. Inc. development on the north side of Bethany Beach in Ocean View.

“We always wanted to be closer to the coast,” Ms. Crawley says, adding that the community and the house met all of their needs. The 2,705-square-foot carriage house has a master bedroom on the first floor and about the same amount of space as their former home, a two-story Cape Cod.

The community has 94 carriage homes and 114 villa homes starting from the upper $300,000s to upper $400,000s.

It also offers “the best clubhouse on the Eastern Shore,” Ms. Crawley says. It has indoor and outdoor swimming pools, an exercise room, billiards, a sauna and a large kitchen. On the Indian River are free boat slips for visitors’ day use. A shuttle connects the community to Bethany Beach.

For information, contact Toll Bros. at 302/539-1110.

Ms. Crawley, a loan officer with Prosperity Mortgage, says she sees no end in sight for new-home construction in the region. With almost 30 years in the mortgage and real estate industry, she says, “Everything goes in waves, but this time, demand continues to increase, although perhaps not quite as much as last year.”

Toll Bros.’ newest development is White Creek at Bethany, a community of four-bedroom single-family homes in Millville, including three models with a master bedroom on the first floor. The 3,225-square-foot homes start at $589,975.

Ellis Point is a new Centex Homes (www.centexontheshore.com) community of 56 single-family homes with views of Indian River Bay.

Starting in the $800,000s, the homes feature more than 3,200 square feet of living space, multiple decks and dual master suites. The community has a clubhouse and pool and private beach access.

For information on Ellis Point, call 866/310-1772.

In January, Centex plans to open Seagrass Plantation, with 208 beach-style single-family homes along Indian River Bay. Amenities for this community will include a beach, boat ramp, pool and clubhouse, kayak and canoe launch, jogging and biking trails.

In addition, the Ridings at Rehoboth will be a new Centex community of 112 single-family homes with up to 3,000 square feet of living space, a few miles from Rehoboth Beach.

Call 877/682-3700.

Engle Homes (www.englehomes.com) formerly named Gilligan Homes, part of Technical Olympic USA Inc. (TOUSA) builders headquartered in Hollywood, Fla., has built the new three- and four-bedroom town homes of Whartons Bluff at Millsboro, which start in the $400,000s, as well as three-bedroom town homes at Victoria’s Landing in Long Neck, which start at $265,990.

The company also has built the four- and five-bedroom single-family homes at the Reserves at Lewes Landing, which range from the mid-$400,000s to $500,000s.

Gemcraft Homes, headquartered in Baltimore (www.gemcrafthomes.com), has built two-level carriage homes at Eagle Point from the mid-$300,000s, single-family homes from the mid-$200,000s at Oakmont Estates and 15 executive homes at Lakewood Estates from the low $400,000s.

Carriage homes and single-family homes from the mid-$400,000s are available at Gemcraft’s Villages of Five Points in Lewes. The Villages community has the feel of a small-town coastal village, with retail shops, town center, tennis courts and pool within walking distance.

Single-family homes starting from the $320,000s can be found at Stonewater Creek in Millsboro, along with a clubhouse, swimming pool and tennis courts. Gemcraft has plans for Plantation Lakes, a resort community with 3,500 lots in Millsboro planned to open next year.

Gemcraft also has opened models at Victoria Forest in a quiet setting on the outskirts of Selbyville, close to the outlets in Rehoboth Beach.

The 58 homes will be on lots of a quarter-acre or larger, with many backing to protected wetlands. One of Gemcraft’s newer three developments is the Pines at Seaford, a smaller community of 18 homesites near Seaford, where single-family homes will be priced from the low $300,000s.

For information on these and other Gemcraft homes in Delaware, call 302/838-9580.

“We are seeing a lot of traffic from Virginia and D.C. looking for [a] second home or investment. There is considerable demand for single-family homes with half acres near the shore,” says Tom Gill, a member of the Asher Bartos agency, which is marketing the Gemcraft homes.

Pulte Homes Inc. of Bloomfield Hills, Mich. (www.pulte.com), the largest home builder in the nation based on revenue, is also building homes near Lewes.

Bay Crossing, an active-adult community, has town-house villas starting at $364,990 and one-and two-story single-family homes starting at $398,900 to $438,990.

The two-bedroom single-family homes have 1,823 square feet; the villas have 1,972 square feet and 2,227 square feet. All of the homes have master bedrooms on the first floor.

New owners Bob and Linda Ruth, both retired, moved from a town home in Rehoboth to a single-family two-story home at Bay Crossing because it had a master bedroom on the first floor.

“We looked everywhere up and down Route 1 and loved the model as soon as we walked into it,” Mr. Ruth says. “Everything we need is on the first floor, and we have a guest room and office on the second floor.”

The community opened in June, and 65 of the 168 planned homes have been sold.

“What differentiates this community is the clubhouse that has an on-site lifestyle director who is planning parties and trips and doing things the community wants to do,” says Richard Conlon, Pulte’s vice president for operations for Maryland/Delaware Eastern Shore.

Just beginning near Lewes is Pulte’s Hart’s Landing, which has 132 single-family homes, with five already sold. Four of the five models have first-floor master bedrooms. The energy-efficient homes start in the low $400,000s, and the community will have a pool and access to water from Love Creek.

“Our company focuses on our buyers, who they are and what they want. For years and years, people have vacationed at the beach, and what we see now is they want to buy a home,” says Debbie Coughlan, Pulte’s director of strategic marketing.

Coming up in the spring will be Pulte’s Inlet at Pine Grove, near Ocean View, with 36 single-family homes similar to those at Bay Crossing and Hart’s Landing.

For 2007, Pulte is planning the 650-home community of Coastal Club with its sister company, Del Webb Corp. The community, close to Lewes, will have a clubhouse, fitness center and lifestyle director. More than 4,000 persons already have expressed interest in this community.

NVHomes of Reston (www.nvhomes.com), is building communities near Rehoboth Beach and Bethany Beach.

At Beaver Creek in Harbeson, six miles from Rehoboth Beach off Route 9, NVHomes has begun clearing for 300 homesites. The 3,000-square-foot homes on half-acre lots, many with first-floor owner suites, will start in the low $400,000s. The community, to be built over three years, will have a clubhouse and swimming pool.

At Cannery Village, in Milton off Route 5, NVHomes has broken ground for models to open in the fall, featuring some of the 300 homes to be built. The community will include single-family homes in the low $400,000s, and town homes in the low $300,000s with a neo-traditional town center that has restaurants, a clubhouse and swimming pool within walking distance.

Bethany Preserve at Ocean View will have 35 single-family homes, 2,600 to 3,200 square feet, with first-floor owner suites, priced in the upper $500,000s. The community is surrounded by a wildlife preserve and will have a pool and clubhouse.

For those who must be directly at the ocean, and only at the ocean, NVHomes is building six homes 100 yards off the sand at Fenwick Shores, starting at $1,600,000. Three already have been sold, and one is under construction on Fenwick Avenue.

The Peninsula on Indian River Bay will eventually have 1,400 homes ranging from luxury condominiums to custom homes, starting in the high $500,000s.

The Peninsula is set on almost 800 acres. The centerpiece is Delaware’s first private Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, scheduled to open in 2006.

There also will be a Lakeside Village Center with casual dining, a gourmet food market, two pools, a freshwater wave lagoon with water slide for children, a tennis center and a 16,500-square-foot athletic club and spa with an indoor pool, spa services and fitness facilities.

The Peninsula’s model-home village, which opened on Memorial Day, showcases 11 homes valued from $580,000 to $1,750,000, featuring the coastal village architecture that soon will grace the nine private neighborhoods at the Peninsula.

Recognizing that many buyers want vacation homes, Peninsula also will provide a rental program for homeowners who wish to have seasonal rentals of their property. The developer is Peninsula at Longneck LLC, a joint venture between Odyssey Development Group, McLean, and L.M. Sandler & Sons Inc. of Virginia Beach.

Visit the Web site at www.peninsuladelaware.com.

MARYLAND

New-home communities are “springing up everywhere,” says Tom Niemkiewicz of Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. in Ocean City.

He cites the appeal of places close to the beach for people looking to retire.

“The difference today is that people are willing to be in proximity to the beach for more house and less cost, rather than beachfront at a $800,000 condo with no storage room,” he says.

On the other hand, investors are choosing to buy closer to the beach in order to cash in on something they know will appreciate, he says. Though an inventory of older beach units is starting to grow, Mr. Niemkiewicz says he expects renewed pep in sales.

He says growth on Maryland’s lower shore should continue for at least another five years, as “baby boomers will be looking to do something more exciting with their lives.”

As for the current slight rise in interest rates, he notes, “It didn’t deter them in the past. Most are coming with cash in hand from their 401(k)s or house equity.”

Toll Bros. is building Bayside at Ocean City, a community of 310 single-family and villa homes that overlooks Assateague Island.

It features a clubhouse with indoor and outdoor pools, tennis, a kayak dock, crab pier and ponds. Just four miles from the boardwalk, the community boasts four-bedroom homes of about 2,500 square feet starting at $481,975.

Once home to the historic 17,000-acre farm used to train horse-racing champion Man o’ War, Glen Riddle, located near Ocean Pines, is a prestigious golf-course community.

The Centex community has resort-style amenities, including two championship golf courses, a golf clubhouse with a professional training facility, tennis courts, a private owners clubhouse, and a 96-slip marina. Single-family homes, town homes and marina condominiums are selling now.

At Seaside Village on the Isle of Wight Bay, Centex will showcase 114 town homes offering more than 2,300 square feet of living space. The community features views of Ocean City, 100 boat slips, a clubhouse and pool. Town homes start at $498,000.

At Decatur Farm in Berlin, Centex offers single-family homes and town homes with a community clubhouse, swimming pool and three ponds.

Expected next summer is the first model for Pennington Estates at Ocean Pines, a community of 29 homes by Monogram Building and Design Inc. (www.monogrambuilders.com) of Ocean City.

Pennington Estates, at the South Gate of Ocean Pines, will be adjacent to the new Pennington Commons shopping complex and Food Lion.

The 2,500-square-foot homes will be priced in the mid-$700,000s.

Monogram is completing 94 single-family homes at Lighthouse Sound in Bishopville, starting at $600,000, on quarter-acre to 1-acre lots.

The community has a challenging golf course and clubhouse.

Monogram, which has built Wooster Harbor and Sunrise Cove in West Ocean City, builds homes that become primary residences, says Rachel Shlagel, sales and marketing assistant. Many families that buy the homes come from Philadelphia and Baltimore.

Townes of Berlin has four town homes remaining out of the 20 that were built near the downtown area. The homes, starting at $294,000, have 2,500 square feet, garage, two gas fireplaces and a community pond.

Just beyond Berlin in Newark, Md., Monogram plans 41 single-family homes at Arcadia, opening in spring. Monogram’s West Harbor Village, with 31 single-family homes and 62 town houses, will be off Old Bridge Road in West Ocean City. Opening is planned for next fall.

Willow Brook at Berlin will be a community of 24 single-family homes planned for late next year.

Gemcraft is expanding in Maryland and planning a large community of 3,500 lots in Cambridge, called Blackwater Creek Resort, which will break ground next year.

Call 410/901-6051.

Pre-construction prices are available for a smaller community of single-family homes at Bayly Crossing.

Salisbury is another area of burgeoning development with many affordable homes.

Gemcraft is building four-bedroom single-family homes at Harbor Pointe, starting at $250,000.

Call 410-749-5606.

Thomas H. Ruark Inc. (www.ruarkhomes.com), a Salisbury builder and developer, is building the Village at Sleepy Hollow, which is appealing to both young families and retirees, judging from the brisk sales. The Village includes carriage homes and single-family homes ranging from 1,080 square feet to 2,626 square feet.

The single-family homes, which are more than 50 percent sold, are on quarter-acre lots with lawn irrigation and have large master suites and two-car garages.

The community also has 90 one-level carriage homes for active adults, starting in the mid-$100,000s. They are 80 percent sold.

The sales office says the majority of new owners are from the local area or from suburban Virginia or Maryland, people who are working and planning to retire on Delmarva.

Ruark, which averages development of 115 homes a year, has completed the Village at Tony Tank Creek, another active-adult community in Salisbury.

Nicole Nichols, a sales associate, says retirement communities are “hot sellers.”

“We are seeing more demand than in years past,” she says. “We’re a well-known home builder, but there is still a higher demand as retirees are looking for carefree affordable housing.”

Responding to the needs of first-time home buyers, Ruark recently began construction on a new development of 40 single-family homes at Sassafras Meadows on Queen Avenue in Salisbury. The one- and two-story homes range from 1,440 to 1,940 square feet and start from the $190,000s.

Another community just 15 minutes from Ocean City is Heartland Estates on Pine Street in Pittsville. The homes there also range from 1,440 to 1,940 square feet; they start in the $230,000s.

Ruark’s plans include the Villages at Parson’s Lake, which will be within walking distance of the Center at Salisbury shopping center on East Naylor Mill Road.

The community will have carriage homes and single-family homes with town homes. Construction is expected to begin in January.

Phase 2 will be active-adult homes, and single-family homes will follow in two more phases of construction. The community will have a community center, swimming pool and tot lot.

For information on Ruark’s homes, call the sales office at 410/677-3835.

VIRGINIA

Small and large developments are under way in Virginia close to the Chincoteague Bay.

Monogram plans a new community of 29 estate homes at Equestrian Shores in Public Landing. The lots range in size from 1 to 4 acres, starting at $175,000. The homes will be priced from the $500,000s to $600,000s and will offer views of ponds and Chincoteague Bay.

Jenkins Orchard in Pocomoke will have 47 single-family homes on half-acre lots, starting at $309,900, and Monogram is building seven homes to be ready in the spring.

Major expansion is occurring at Captain’s Cove in Greenbackville on the Chincoteague Bay just over the Maryland-Virginia line.

Captain’s Cove Group LLC, headed by Bob Warfield and Al Glick, is planning to develop 4,800 lots on some 2,000 acres of rolling hills and woodland with views of the bay.

The development is so new that advertising has not yet begun.

As a community, Captain’s Cove has been around for more than 20 years with 600 existing homes and 270 year-round residents. The expansion of Captain’s Cove features lots for sale for new single-family homes.

Planned by mid-2007 are a rebuilt yacht and golf club with activity center, fitness center, nine-hole golf course, 250-seat banquet facility, and five pools — one indoors and four outdoors.

Interior lots are starting at $59,000, while larger lots with full bay view may cost as much as $300,000.

Ryan Homes has options on 600 of the lots and, with two model homes ready, Ryan home and lot packages are starting at $210,000.

Other major builders also are offering packages for buyers who purchase a lot and pick their own home design.

“With fishing, boating, hiking and golf, Captain’s Cove is a wonderful place to live and a great place to retire. It’s also a place to get away from it all,” Mr. Warfield says.

Coldwell Banker will be handling sales at Captain’s Cove.

Call 800/258-5843.

On the southwestern tip of Virginia’s shore, about two hours south of Ocean City, the community of Bay Creek is situated on 1,729 acres and part of the town of Cape Charles.

Baymark Construction Corp., headquartered in Virginia Beach and headed by Dick Foster, is developing Bay Creek in an area zoned for 3,000 homes.

Residences will include upscale single-family homes from $500,000 to more than $1,000,000, as well as custom duplexes, town houses, and condos starting at $300,000.

In addition to Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus golf courses, there are slips for 224 boats, a 50,000-square-foot beach club, botanical gardens and even a carousel with sea horses and blue herons.

Bay Creek has about 61/2 miles of waterfront, including the Chesapeake Bay and Plantation Creek. Bay Creek offers scenic walking, jogging and birding trails; a clubhouse; a community activity center featuring a swimming pool, tennis courts and fitness center; retail shops and restaurants, bay access for kayaking and canoeing, and four restaurants.

Along with some multimillion-dollar model homes, Bay Creek also provides a tour of Old Plantation Light, a full-scale replica and lighthouse museum.

Visit www.bay-creek.com.

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