Older houses in Southwest Florida’s nicer neighborhoods are fast being torn down as rising land prices make it faster and cheaper to raze rather than remodel.
In their place, larger houses are being built – usually bigger, and often higher.
“If you find out you have to spend millions for a small house on a lot, you’re definitely going to build a bigger house to justify the land cost,” said Phil Wood, president of John R. Wood Realtors in Naples.
Research by John R. Wood shows replacement homes built recently average 4,200 square feet – 2,295 square feet larger than the original house.
Builders say small homes are on borrowed time if they’re on a lot – usually waterfront – where it’s cheaper to do a teardown than to build on vacant land.
The teardown trend “now accounts for a third of all the houses we build,” said Gary Aubuchon, president of Cape Coral-based custom builder Aubuchon Homes. “We do a lot in the older section of Cape Coral, the area called the yacht club section, and along the river.”
Across the Caloosahatchee, he said, “Town & River is an area that’s seen a fair amount of teardowns. And we’re now in Naples as well.”
Florida’s regulations often make it more expensive than a teardown to expand or remodel an existing home, Aubuchon said. […]