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Homebuilders offer custom choice in a tight market

As buyers battle for homes for sale, some are turning to another source – homebuilders.

Western New York’s new home construction market has grown after lackluster activity during the recession. From patio homes and townhouses to fill-in single-family homes and entire neighborhoods, they’re putting up new inventory in some of the region’s most popular communities.

“There’s low inventory on the used-home market, so that has increased interest in the new homes,” said David Capretto, CEO of Forbes-Capretto Homes.
The new homes vary in design, location and price.

While the market is dominated by several major players, there is an array of custom and specialized builders, especially in luxury homes.

Marrano/Marc Equity

Leading the charge is Marrano/Marc Equity, the region’s No. 1 homebuilder in dollar volume, which completed 150 homes last year in Western New York valued at over $50 million. Its highest-priced home sale in 2016 was a custom house in East Aurora priced at $2.5 million, said John Manns, executive vice president of sales and marketing.

[Related: Prospectus 2017/Unveiling the New Buffalo]

The 60-year-old company builds a variety of homes, including custom patio homes, single-family homes and townhomes.

Ryan Homes

Ryan Homes, the No. 1 homebuilder locally by number of homes sold, is one of the nation’s top five homebuilders and the only major national player in Western New York. Founded in Pittsburgh in 1948, it builds single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and “active adult” and lifestyle resort communities in 27 metro areas.

In the Buffalo market, where its local office is in West Seneca, Ryan is building in Camelot Square in West Seneca, Summerfield Farms in Lancaster, Willow Woods in Hamburg and the Meadows at Pendleton. It’s also preparing to start Sherwood Meadows and Arthur Court in Hamburg.


Forbes-Capretto is a high-end custom and move-in-ready homebuilder formed in 2002 from a merger of Capretto Homes and Forbes Homes. Its history dates back more than 30 years.

The company builds in 15 communities, with homes starting at $300,000 and ranging upward of $1 million.

Last year, it closed on 60 homes, but CEO David Capretto said that a strong backlog at the end of last year means a surge in production for 2017, when the builder expects to close 80 to 90 homes.

Essex Homes

Essex Homes of Western New York, owned by the Nanula family, has built homes locally since 1992, amassing more than 700 houses, including upscale and moderately priced homes. Last year, it tallied 75 home starts.

This year, Nanula said, the firm plans to start a 30-lot phase of Essex Greens in the spring and a new phase of 30 homes at Knoche Farms. He’s also “looking at some new projects” in Lancaster, Clarence and Hamburg.

The firm is also working with developer Nick Sinatra on 32 upscale rental townhomes as part of a larger redevelopment of the former Immaculate Conception Convent property in Hamburg.

Natale Builders

Natale Builders is a 45-year-old, second-generation family builder that specializes in energy-efficient, sustainable and custom-built homes. The firm touts its record of achieving high “Green Build” and “Energy Star” ratings for its homes and says the energy-saving scores on its homes are more than 60% better than required by code.

For 2017, Vice President Larry LaDuca said the firm has 177 total properties available, including 35 single-family and condo lots in Amherst’s Avalon Meadows; 47 condo, single-family and “executive” lots in five Clarence developments; 54 patio home lots off Pleasant Avenue in Hamburg; 11 patio home lots off Harris Hill Road in Lancaster; and 30 townhomes that will come online on California Street in Williamsville in the fall.

Other homebuilders

Western New York has a number of other active custom homebuilders, such as MJ Peterson Tucker Homes, David Homes, Burke Homes, Alliance Homes, Legacy Development, Tesmer Builders, Regency Builders, Blum Builders, Brownstone Homes, Randaccio Builders and Rosal Homes.

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