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Daily Real Estate News  |  September 20, 2006  |   Buyers Flock to Homes with Designer Brands
You've heard of designer jeans and designer handbags, but designer homes? That's the newest trend among discerning buyers.

Martha Stewart was first, designing homes in North Carolina and other Southern states. Giorgio Armani’s Wall Street condos also sold well. Then Mick Jagger's daughter Jade Jagger stepped in with a 57-unit building in the Chelsea section of Manhattan, and plans for more buildings.

Designer homes are "quite simply a creative way to distinguish your products from competitors'," says Bruce Karatz, CEO of KB Home, which teamed up with Martha Stewart. In addition to Stewart communities in North Carolina and Atlanta, KB Home will build Stewart-styled homes near Houston and Los Angeles. Next month, it will announce one new such community in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Karatz says the Martha Stewart homes are selling faster than anything KB Home is building in the Southeast. Though still a small portion of the company's total sales, they could increase to 10 percent to 20 percent of KB Home's production, he says.

The homes, which are inspired by Stewart's personal residences in Maine, Connecticut, and New York, are priced from the low $200,000s to mid- $500,000, depending on the neighborhood. They attract a "huge amount" of buyers, Karatz says.

Source: USAToday, Noelle Knox (09/20/2006)

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