From the Allentown Morning Call:
Builders give buyers a break
By Beth W. Orenstein
To move cars at the end of the 2005 model year, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler offered some buyers the same discounts they offer their employees. One area homebuilder, Heritage Homes Group of Jamison, recently started a similar incentive program to spur sales of its homes.
Since mid-September, Heritage has offered ”employee pricing plus,” which entitles homebuyers to the same discounts its employees would get if they were to buy a home in one of its developments: $25,000 worth of options for free if they buy a single family home and $10,000 in options if they buy a town house. The program applies to all its developments, including The Manors and Carriage Court at Highgate, a mix of single family and town houses, in Upper Macungie Township.
The builder incentive program is a sign of the times.
When the new home market was at a fever pitch — as it had been for at least three years — builders needed to do little to attract buyers. They could build home after home and offer them at take-it-or-leave-it prices, and they would sell. However, when the new-home market slows, as it has since the middle of last year, that is no longer a case.
”The day of people running at you and saying, ‘Please take my check,’ is over,” says Sharon Sheldon, the real estate agent for the Elliott Group’s CloverView Estates in Lower Saucon Township, a development of 14 luxury homes on 2 to 5 acre sites that sell for more than $800,000.
That’s why more and more, builders are offering incentives such as low-rate financing, free upgrades and special promotions. Some are even cutting asking prices.