The draw of western New York becomes more apparent as the greater Buffalo area undergoes a renaissance, creating a demand for high-quality, customized housing that’s being partially met by Natale Builders.
Call them “forever homes,” says Director of Sales Peter Kress as he hustles between late-spring appointments from the Clarence office to the various sites where Natale houses are sprouting.
Such homes will appreciate and stand any test of time, Kress says. The houses aren’t just energy efficient; many are energy neutral—built with energy-recovery ventilation systems that act like lungs for tight building envelopes, making moisture problems a thing of the past. Other accessories may include solar panels that create as much energy as they consume, taking sustainability to a new level.
The houses come standard with Superior Walls foundations, TopNotch 350 subflooring, Andersen 200 series windows and many engineered materials that increase the overall building performance. Framing is done exclusively by Amish and Mennonite tradespeople, who company President Angelo Natale deems the best in the business.
Knowing that no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are used during construction, occupants can breathe freely in a Natale home, and there are plenty of other reasons for peace of mind—especially in the planning process, often the most nerve-wracking for any buyer.
If a family is going to live in a home forever or at least a lifetime, they’ll want it to meet their every specification and may need some help making decisions.
“You’re not on your own in figuring out what you want,” Kress assures. “We’re known for customization. We’re not like a company that builds 200 homes and loses track of clients, and we’re not a small builder that only does a few houses a year and doesn’t get the chance to hone its expertise. We do 40 to 50 houses, and that’s the right number to ensure customer service. Every project is known by everyone on staff.”
So streamlined is the selection process that the buyer can wrap up most of the details in three or four meetings, the first being a personal consultation with Ann White, the director of procurement and in-house decorator, who administers a lifestyle analysis.
Country or urban? Classic or contemporary? Americana or European? Ranch or multi-level? Patio, townhouse or condo?
Narrowing down those options is usually first on a buyer’s list, but the interior is equally important. In the rustic towns around Buffalo, exposed beams and stone fireplaces are the choices of many, but they’re far from the only choices.
Once the deposit is secured, the buyer meets with an architect to develop the blueprints and hash out any lingering details. But “measure twice, cut once,” Natale reminds, and before any ground is broken, the buyer meets again with a supervisor and designer.
Energized for efficiency
Though available in a multitude of styles, Kress says the common denominators of a Natale home include the aforementioned energy efficiency that originates from the company’s ability to build from the inside out.
That’s a necessity in a region that can experience climate extremes, be it January or July—and a good investment that factors into the house’s monetary appreciation.
Given the Buffalo area’s famous winters, it hardly seemed necessary for Natale Vice President Larry LaDuca to cross the border to research energy efficiency in Canada, but the building codes are even more stringent to the north. With his know-how, enhanced by friendly builders in Ontario, LaDuca brought back ways to further improve geothermal heating and cooling systems as well as other means to further tighten a structure’s envelope.
Those opting for the greenest houses also benefit from tax incentives and renewable energy grants while reducing utility bills, making the most efficient technology affordable. Although a federal 30 percent tax credit on geothermal heating and cooling expired last year, excess credits may be carried for five years after purchase, and New York State still offers an array of incentives for both geothermal and solar sustainability.
It’s not just homes that Natale offers. The company has developed some of the choicest subdivisions.
There’s Avalon Meadows in Amherst, where European-style single-family homes sell within the $400,000-$800,000 range, with one of the state’s premier school districts an amenity. The Chateaus subdevelopment offers six models of patio homes with condo tax status.
In Clarence, Creekwood Meadows is scheduled to open this fall, with large wooded lots affording extra privacy to houses priced between $395,000 and $515,000. Thirty miles southwest, in Hamburg, the first phase of 32-lot Pleasant Creek combines ample green space with houses priced from $295,000 to $500,000.
And for those folks needing less space and yard work, 42 townhouses are expected to open next year in Williamsville.
The Buffalo bounce
While this may open eyes elsewhere, it’s not news in Buffalo where the housing market has been hot for more than a decade, ranking ninth in the nation with a 26.6 percent gain since 2006, with Pittsburgh just behind.
Reasons for such appreciation may be many, among them that northern industrial cities didn’t experience the extreme booms and busts that had trendier locales overbuilding and then dealing with the double whammy of the Great Recession and housing market collapse. Stability has long been among the Buffalo area’s attributes, even if other parts of New York didn’t take notice.
They are now.
The beneficiary of the so-called Buffalo Billion—Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s long-term investment in Upstate New York—as well as private investment, the region’s economy is picking up steam. Buffalo itself has multiple projects underway, with the waterfront being revitalized and a medical school being relocated to the downtown.
As the economic spinoffs multiply, the need increases for quality housing by companies like Natale Builders, whose clients have every reason to be around for the long haul.
All the better if they can live in a customized dream house built by a company that has been a fixture in the area’s residential construction for nearly a half-century. That’s a track record worth building on, says Kress.
“When you’re considering a new home that could take seven to 12 months to complete, take into account the people and the team you’ll be dealing with,” he says. “There’s a value here that doesn’t show on the bottom line.”
Showcase your feature on your website with a custom “As Featured in US Builders Review” badge that links directly to your article!
Copy and paste this script into your page coding (ideally right before the closing