Challenging Home Market Calls for Innovative Measures
Amid a declining housing market, a progressive community is being constructed, providing new options for the Greater Cleveland new home market. Villas of Orange is a distinctive community of single-family condominium homes featuring custom interiors and exterior care-free living.
According to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, in the first quarter of 2006, the overall housing appreciation rate was about two percent, the lowest since the first quarter of 2004. Builders in this type of environment need to determine new ways to attract buyers. Villas of Orange is addressing this situation by offering new and distinctive home entertainment experiences, including whole home audio and video distribution systems.
All over the country, builders are looking to integrate solutions, such as home entertainment products, to help revive sales. In fact, a recently released survey conducted by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) revealed the existence of a strong consumer desire and need for these products, which, is currently not being met. Further, it found that if recent home buyers had been offered this type of product before purchasing their new homes, the industry could have had about 340,000 more whole home audio installs, in addition to 300,000 new home theater installs.
Working Together, Taking Action
The Villas of Orange project is being led by Kertes Enterprises, Incorporated, a leading home building firm with a 40-year history in the Cleveland area.
“We use only the best people in their fields to build our communities: designers, planners, developers, construction managers and supervisors, craftsmen and customer service specialists,” said Kertes Vice President Stacy Maxson.
While executing this strategy, Kertes Enterprises realized it needed to distinguish the Villas of Orange from other communities. The builder enlisted the expertise of Crescent Digital.
Crescent Digital has worked with Kertes Enterprises in providing audio and video electronics integration since the company’s emergence four years ago. Through the course of work on the Villas of Orange community, Crescent CEO Mike Heines collaborated with Kertes to set a new standard of whole home entertainment options.
What a Leading Brand Can Do
Parks Associates, a noted industry analyst group, recently surveyed builders about brand recognition. Builder feedback indicated that Sony is the most frequently mentioned brand with the best overall technology image.
According to Heines, “With Sony’s focus on the builder channel, they give us the product reach and support needed for condo and town home projects. Their products are solid and cost effective and they have a great name behind it.”
More than 150 homes in the Villas of Orange and the new Lakes of Orange will include one DVD WallStation and up to four CD WallStation units, affording prospective Villas home buyers an efficient, convenient and full-featured home theater and audio/video solution. Additionally, Sony has upgrade products, including award-winning BRAVIA LCD televisions that are available as options in all of the homes.
Sony WallStation units comprise a whole home entertainment system that allows users to play their favorite CD, DVD, AM/FM radio station, or MP3; connects to their home PC and controls their Sony TV, all at the touch of a button. By adding additional WallStation units, homebuyers can add either stereo audio or 5.1 surround sound audio/video to virtually any room during the build process. Once installed, homebuyers can share music through the convenient “party mode” for whole home music distribution. WallStation units also double as an intercom, allowing homeowners to communicate from room-to-room, and can be used as a room monitor.
Savvy Builders and Installers Recognize Potential with WallStation
Home buyer interest in audio and video solutions continues to grow. The June 2006 CEA study reported high levels of satisfaction for consumers who purchased a home technology product for their new house. While satisfaction is more than 75 percent for all the technologies tested, owners of home theater systems have the highest satisfaction rate at 89 percent. Additionally, whole home audio also ranked high with an 84 percent satisfaction rating. In terms of consumer spending, home theater products topped the “expected spending of likely home buyers” category, surpassing home automation and energy management.
For the consumer, Sony products mean an easy to use whole home audio-video solution with a modern stylish design to integrate seamlessly into their home. Additionally, they have more flexibility such as configuring the purchase into the mortgage.
In just eight homes, more than $50,000 worth of Sony WallStation units, Sony BRAVIA LCD televisions and surround sound equipment is being installed. In the second phase of Villas construction along with the Lakes of Orange construction, more than 150 new homes are being built, all with WallStation products. This underscores the builder’s faith in the product and brand as a successful marketing advantage for driving sales.
According to Heines, “WallStation is a cost effective, all-in-one product line supported by Sony, a large company with a great electronics name and track record.”
“Since we completed the first stage in June 2006, we have seen firsthand an increase in sales of homes that feature Sony WallStation units,” said Randy Kertesz, the founder and CEO of Kertes Enterprises. “Just recently I spoke with a potential buyer who was so enthusiastic about the whole home AV system. WallStation is playing a significant role in his home purchase.”
The message is clear: Builders and installers believe strongly in home buyer demand for these types of technologies in new homes. Successful builders and installers recognize this strong interest and potential for growth and incorporate products such as Sony WallStation as a standard in their new home constructions. Not only is it a benefit to the home buyer, installer, and builder, but ultimately the housing market as a whole.