To answer your question, the upside to Stone Canyon, aside from the beauty of the location is the ability to purchase a brand spankin' new home in an area that just doesn't have a whole lot of new construction going on.
Claremont is a very well established community and as such, it does not have a lot of property left for new first time development. Also, because of the nature of the community it can be challenging to work with the planning department if you want to construct your own dream home. It is no worse than working with any other city's planning folks but if you choose to select your home from one of the Stone Canyon properties then you could get the best of both worlds - a beautiful new home without the headache of having to work with the city yourself.
As for the size difference, it really depends upon the layout of the home and your personal desires as to which one you choose. I have been in some properties up there that were in the 4000 SF range and felt HUGE and others that were 5000+ but hid their size well. For my money, especially because I will be paying property taxes for years after the purchase, I might opt for the smaller, lower priced home if it was laid out better for my needs.
It is also true that if you go talk to the builder with your own Realtor in tow we can usually get you a better deal on your home than if you go in alone. Choosing to consider these homes when the builder is in their final phase of construction can indeed be a wise move. In order for the builder to reap the rewards of their efforts and access the money they have already earned they must sell every single property they have built. So, you can imagine that when they get down to one or two homes left, they will do just about anything to get those homes sold.
You are usually looking at the former models which can also mean that the home you choose may come with additional upgrades, an allotment for even more upgrades and other financial incentives to entice the buyer to act now.
Plus, you get the Claremont School district (which whether you choose to utilize it or not is a very desirabe feature), the unspoiled beauty of the nature trails around Johnson's Creek, the convenience of the Metrolink station to get you back to LA with ease, easy access to freeways, shopping, dining and cultural events and the opportunity to live in the city that was rated as #5 in the Nation and #1 in the State by CNN Money as one of the best places to live.
As your local Claremont expert (and a 6+ year resident married to a lifetime resident) I am uniquely qualified to assist you should you wish to explore purchasing one of the Stone Canyon Preserve homes or any other here in my fair city.
Please feel free to give me a call or drop me a line if you have any additional questions or if I can be of assistance.
Take care and have a wonderful day!
Tisza Major-Posner, Realtor, IVPG (909) 837-8922