Panel: Local Builders Bob Marini and Peter Belmonte

Bob Marini

CEO, Marini Homes

Bob Marini

Biggest home design trend you’re seeing in 2023? In the wake of the cost escalations of 2022 and much higher interest rates, we’re seeing a trend toward slightly smaller homes with more amenities, such as three-car garages, three-plus full bathrooms, covered outdoor living spaces and wide-open indoor spaces.

How is the pandemic still affecting your business? The No. 1 hangover from the pandemic is housing affordability. Supply chain constraints and federal stimulus created a tsunami of inflation that translated to the costs of new homes rising 40 percent and interest rates being much higher than a year ago. This combination has forced many would-be homebuyers to the sidelines.

One thing you wish your customers understood? The cost of government regulations and their impact on the affordability of new homes. The cost of new home lots used to be around $45,000 in the ’90s and has increased to $130,000 per lot today.

Peter Belmonte

President, Belmonte Builders

Peter Belmonte

Biggest home design trend you’re seeing in 2023? Finished basements—clients want to maximize finished space to allow everyone to spread out and have their own room. And the addition of outdoor living—people are spending a lot of money on their homes and in return are spending more time at home, so they want to be able to enjoy all aspects of the home, including the outdoors.

How is the pandemic still affecting your business? The pandemic changed our labor force significantly, with many senior and experienced folks retiring from homebuilding, which has created a gap in the workforce. On a good note, products have become more available; but anything with a microchip in it remains a challenge.

One thing you wish your customers understood? That there are a lot of factors that determine the pricing of our homes that are out of our control, and that building a home now takes longer than it did pre-pandemic.  

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