Arguably no subdivision in Lexington has demonstrated the effect of the recession more so than Summerfield on Winchester Road.
As the recession began, Haymaker Development Co. was beginning to offer lots in the area across from the Patchen Wilkes subdivision and between New Circle Road and Hamburg. But then the bottom fell out of the housing market.
Only one lot of the neighborhood's planned 86 was sold, and that was by developer Tim Haymaker to his son Andy of HM Homebuilders. HM Homebuilders built a home on the lot for sale but it has sat empty for going on three years.
"There's an old adage in real estate that if you start moving dirt, things will start happening," Tim Haymaker said in early 2009. "We thought for one house it would be worth doing, but it didn't work."
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Added Andy Haymaker: "We went out there trying to get some momentum, and the whole world changed."
But no more, as Summerfield is starting to grow after Haymaker reconfigured the neighborhood's plans.
Instead of 70-foot wide lots that would hold homes in the $350,000 to $500,000 range, the neighborhood now has 110 lots that are 50 feet wide. The new price range is $200,000 to $250,000, Tim Haymaker said.
"That's probably the most important reason it's started to take off," he said.
The neighborhood's second and third houses are under construction, and "we'll have six more within the next three to six weeks," he said, noting that about half of those are for people contracted to buy and the others are speculative homes built to entice buyers.
"What we're finding is people are wanting to move closer to work and not out in the country," he said. "It's a combination of price point, being close to work, and people just generally liking a new home."
As for the neighborhood's first home, Haymaker said he plans to buy back the home from his son.
"Family or not, it's not fair to have him with that and the neighborhood be changed," he said. "I'll either sell it or auction it or rent it."