SYCAMORE – Doreen Chamberlain enjoys waking up to deer across the street and hearing the howling of coyotes at night.
That’s one of the many reasons why she moved to Vista Verde subdivision in Sycamore.
“It’s just like being in the middle of the country,” she said. “And I like it.”
Vista Verde, located off Peace Road between Routes 23 and 64 in Sycamore, is home to a handful of residents living in less than 20 duplexes along a single street.
Chamberlain said she believes builder Frank Gambino of Gambino Realtors in Rockford intended to add on to the subdivision over the years after Sycamore annexed the land in 2006. But then the housing market took a dive.
“When things went kaput, that’s when they stopped selling units,” she said.
Sycamore City Manager Brian Gregory said the plan is for the area to remain residential. The plat for Vista Verde shows room for 46 duplex lots at two units each for a total of 92 potential units, he said.
“The plan that was put in place when it was annexed is still effective today,” he said.
Gregory said he sees the development of the residential subdivision moving forward once the economy picks up again.
“As the economy dictates and the demand for housing dictates, it will develop in that fashion at some point,” he said.
Several empty lots line Anjali Court, the only street in the subdivision. Chamberlain said some of the developed units, including the one next door to her, have been vacant for years. But Chamberlain recently gained new next door neighbors as of about a month ago.
Alison Rosenow of American Realty in downtown Sycamore said many of the newer builders, such as Gambino, have a hard time competing with the market prices, which makes it difficult for them to keep building.
But she said she expects the housing market to pick up again soon, resulting in more expansion at Vista Verde.
“Once those [housing] prices increase, I have a feeling the builders will start to build again,” she said.
Rosenow said she recently showed a Vista Verde town house to a buyer, who liked the layout, larger square footage and reasonable price of the property.
The Vista Verde town houses currently are advertised as being sold at liquidation prices. Regional real estate site HomesByMarco.com listed the street’s most recent sale of a 2 bed, 2 bath townhome at $118,000 in February after spending 431 days on the market. In August 2009, a similar house sold for $160,000.
While buyers’ housing options are limited right now, Rosenow said many of them are looking to build instead.
“I think it’s good that the inventory’s low right now,” she said. “It will push some builders to keep building.”
While some Vista Verde residents said they had hoped the neighborhood would have developed more, Chamberlain said she is content with the way everything has panned out thus far.
Chamberlain had her home built at Vista Verde in March 2009, a few years after her husband died. She said she enjoys the small town aspect of Sycamore and likes living in a secluded area.
“We love our little community out here,” she said.
By the numbers
• Annexed in 2006
• 46 duplex lots
• 92 potential units
• 16 units built
• Largest unit size: 1,600 square feet