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On New Year's Eve Day, I was visiting my kid brother's family. They live in the fictional town of Suburbia, Long Island.

The next development over is a section of Woodbury called "The Gates" (don't ask). This has long been a very nice upper-middle to upper class part of town, known for rambling ranches and big splits on one and two acre plots. I hadn't been thru there in years. My bro said he had something to show me (he is, amongst other things, a successful Real Estate speculator). 

So while the wives played with the kids and chatted, we took the convertible out (it was 56 degrees on 12/31/06) and tooled thru the neighborhoods.

I couldn't believe the sheer number of knockdowns. It seemed that every 3rd house was either brand new, under construction, or had already been leveled.

The RAZR has a decent camera on it, so I took quite a few snaps:

This is the original sort of Houses that were all over this nicer part upper middle class suburbia. This Ranch is bigger than the photo shows, with a garage off to the right:
1_split

These are what are replacing the ranches and splits:

2_big

How the prices developed was an interesting aspect of this: According to public records, most of these knockdowns were purchased over the past 24 months. Specs paid between $1.0-1.3M -- essentially for the land, as they razed whatever buildings were on the property. The new homes had been first listed for $2.4m or so, but that was optimistic. Prices slipped to then $2.2m, and they are now holding at $1.99m -- with few takers. But  its a nice neighborhood (location location location), and as prices drop further there will be plenty of buyers -- the only question is at what price point?

What I found so fascinating were the number of empty lots (knock downs) and half-finished homes -- and according to the neighbors we met, quite a few have been that way for a while.

If any builders/developers here can provide insight, I'm curious as to what it costs to put up one of these bigger homes -- not the land, just the construction costs. A few of these 5,000 sq. ft.homes were actually very handsome (not the boring red brick McMansions, but others). I am curious as to how much profit there is in these jumbo homes. 

One thing to note in light of the earlier Lennar news:  As Beezer's CEO observed, about 75% of the home building business is still in private hands. (See WCW)

I'll toss the rest of the snaps I took after the jump  . . .

These are all of the snaps I took:

A few of the more handsome homes:   

1_nice

Gotta like the architectural design:

2_real_big

Same home different angle: This one is closer to 8,000+ sq. ft.

3_real_big

Red brick is apparently on sale:

4_sal_e

(Guess what the heck this red hood is attached to:)

5_sale

Owner occupied:

6_sale

This has been half finished for quite some time:

7_sale

Source: Real Estate Speculation In Long Island