This newly constructed four-bedroom home in Wilton is being marketed by William Raveis Real Estate & Home Services’ New Homes Division, which recently completed its expansion into northwestern Connecticut with the appointment of a new regional director.

The New Homes Division of Shelton-based William Raveis Real Estate & Home Services has solidified its presence in northwestern Connecticut with the appointment of a regional director.

In response to growing demand by area builders, the firm recently appointed longtime Bethel resident Cathy Golankiewicz to the New Homes Division post.

“I am pleased that Cathy has accepted this position,” said Senior Vice President John Tarducci, who heads the New Homes Division. “I’m confident her depth of experience and market knowledge of the region will help her achieve our goals.”

Golankiewicz has made real estate a lifetime career, and has worked as a William Raveis sales professional for 23 years. She managed the firm’s New Milford office for seven years, and also served as the company’s assistant project manager on many condominium projects marketed by William Raveis in the 1980s.

“I’m eager to work with area builders and developers to market and manage existing projects and pursue new construction opportunities,” Golankiewicz said. “Those areas seeing the most new housing starts include Newtown and towns farther north, where larger parcels of open land still exist.”

Golankiewicz, who works out of William Raveis’ Danbury office, said her region includes communities in upper Fairfield County, from Ridgefield north to portions of southern Litchfield County.

Over the years she has earned numerous awards from William Raveis as a top-producing agent and has been recognized by the company for excellence in customer service. She is a licensed broker and appraiser, and holds educational designations for Certified Residential Specialist as well as Graduate, Realtor Institute. Her areas of expertise include waterfront homes and relocating families.

Golankiewicz is a member of the board of directors of the Northern Fairfield County Board of Realtors. She has resided in Bethel since 1969.

‘Security Zone’

The New Homes Division of William Raveis Real Estate & Home Services is building on a 23-year track record providing marketing, sales and consulting services to developers, builders, investors and financial institutions. The division specializes in identifying profitable business opportunities through land and development research. It has won awards in every available category from the Home Builders Association of Connecticut, including those for achievements in marketing, developments and sales collateral.

According to Tarducci, new-construction homebuyers represent a highly informed, sophisticated consumer group. The rapidly spreading New Homes Division, he noted, is a response to market forces demanding Realtors savvy in new construction, with a cache of lots to offer and ties to local builders.

“We will see the new trends of the new-construction homebuyer unfold before us,” said Tarducci. “One thing is certain in this ever-changing market: the American consumer’s desires are gravitating more toward quality vs. quantity.”

Tastes have changed, he added, and homebuyers are demanding specific amenities from their new homes.

“Across all buyer groups – first-time, move-up, move-up estate, empty nesters, move-down – the home represents a safety and security zone. Steps are being taken in some markets to appeal to this sense of security through technologically advanced systems of cameras and video, which are controlled with other home systems via a laptop computer,” he said. “Due to our hectic personal schedules, homebuyers over most price ranges are attempting to simplify their lives. Homebuyers are often looking for more manageably sized homes, but still voice a distinct preference for certain amenities, including 9-foot ceilings, higher-end finishes such as granite or solid surface countertops, wood flooring, quality moldings and oversized windows.”

He also said buyers have become environmentally sensitive and energy-efficient.

“Porches, patios, decks, courtyards and any kind of outdoor space that expands living areas have become hot items,” said Tarducci. “This concept includes balconies and view-oriented terraces in multifamily communities, all in an effort to embrace the environment.”

Interior-wise, he said, a number of emerging trends have some rooms in flux. As the interior of homes evolves to accommodate the lifestyles of the new-millennium consumer, space is being reallocated to better meet people’s needs.

“A growing market segment prefers a single dining area adjacent to the kitchen and family room that offers enough room for large informal and formal dining. That trend which we saw several years ago creating the ‘great room’ concept is very much in fashion. Many homebuyers have settled into a certain lifestyle that emphasizes a sophisticated yet casual attitude,” said Tarducci.

“Living rooms have become a secondary item on the ‘need list.’ Formal living rooms, in some markets, have been reduced to offer space to other common rooms,” he added. “As the home-office trend grows, it takes on a new dimension. High-tech wiring, once an option or upgrade, has become the norm. Buyers, especially boomer couples, see the home office as a high priority. In some markets, boomers ask for two home offices to accommodate the two-income, empty nester, telecommuting lifestyle.”

Tarducci also noted that the New Homes Division expanded into new territory because it needed to address needs of urban dwellers as well.

“Today’s homebuyer grows tired of spending hours in their car commuting from suburbs to central business districts, [and] the urge to move back to the city has caught the attention of many Connecticut developers. There is a trend now obvious in some markets in Connecticut’s urban areas to redesign entire city blocks to better meet contemporary lifestyles. This trend is known as ‘urban infill.’ Mixed-use urban communities, often which are connected to such offerings as coffee houses, restaurants, dry cleaners, office and retail space, are very appealing to the upper-middle-class trendsetters who value this ‘cafe’ culture,” he said. “This trend has had a favorable impact on urban neighborhoods in Stamford, Norwalk and New Haven.”

William Raveis Real Estate & Home Services is the seventh-largest independent real estate company in the nation, with a sales volume of more than $3.2 billion in 2002.