Niche development focused around leisure pursuits is nothing new. Golfers and skiers have had developments targeted to them for decades. And places like Masthope and Hemlock Farms in PA have been marketed as year round, multi-activity destinations for families. There are 2 niche markets I’m seeing, though, that developers have not identified or targeted.
One is ATV (all-terrain-vehicle) afficionados. I get a few calls a month from people looking for a place where they can ATV with their families that’s sufficiently remote so they don’t piss off the neighbors. At the moderate, affordbale end of the market, in the $250,000 range, they’re looking at a house with around 5 acres — which isn’t quite enough to get noise separation from neighbors and keep the peace. For a house on 30 or 40 acres with plenty of ATV-ing elbow room, they’re looking at either spending upwards of $400,000 in Sullivan County, or going up another half an hour or hour into Delaware County.
Sometimes I think about keeping a card file of everyone who calls me about a place to ATV and putting them all together. What about a small development on 75 acres, with 10 individual 3 to 5 acre parcels surrounding a 25 acre ATV playground? The ATV lovers who surround the ATV area aren’t going to have noise issues, and they could form a noise buffer for other adjacent neighbors. Maybe 75 acres isn’t the magic number, but you get the idea. Of course, there are insurance and other issues that would need to be worked out. But there is definitely demand amoung this group for a weekend second home getaway where they can pursue their hobby without hassle.
The other group that needs a welcoming place to go is dog lovers. A lot of second home searching, believe it or not, is dog-driven. A lot of dog owners in the city want a place for Bowser to be able to run and play. They often want a house with a pond, not for themselves but for their dogs to swim in. But a house with a good pond can be pricey. And then there are dog owners in the city who don’t necesarily want to buy something, but would like a great dog-friendly B&B or resort within a few hours of NYC. How about a dog-oriented development, with a big central shared dog park with a pond, small houses available for purchase (or rent) and a big dog-friendly B&B for overnight guests?
There are certainly other niche markets, but these two are ones that just aren’t served, and I hear from people with these interests over and over again. I expect to get flamed from some people that I’ve even suggested an ATV-oriented development, but the fact is that ATV-ers exist and its probably better to group them together with a sufficient sound buffer than to have them scattered about on their own 5 acre mini-pieces driving their neighbors nuts.