Local News

Builders ramp up incentives to sell homes

Posted October 28, 2008 10:45 p.m. EDT
Updated October 29, 2008 3:51 p.m. EDT

— Selling a home is harder to do during tough economic times – especially if it is a million-dollar home.

John Young knows this scenario all too well. The realtor sells only high-end homes in the upscale Wakefield Plantation subdivision. Despite being the top home-seller in Wake County for the past three years, Young says he, too, is struggling amidst the nationwide financial crisis.

"This year's business is definitely down from what it was last year,” he said.

Some multimillion-dollar homes have been on the market for more than a year in Wake County. Homebuilders are being forced to cut costs by letting go of workers.

“A lot of times, builders that are building those high-end homes are building one or two a year. And clearly, if they can't sell those two houses, then there is no income coming in to support them, support their famil(ies) and support their business,” said Tim Minton, executive director of the Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County.

Young says builders are getting creative, such as offering trades, in an effort to sell expensive homes. He says some have gone as far as offering to pay the first three months of the mortgage just to clinch the deal.

“We've taken three trades on homes, where builders have actually taken somebody's home on trade for a new one,” Young said.

Through the first six months of the year, 3,227 permits for new homes were filed in Wake County, down 43 percent from the same period in 2007 and almost 50 percent from two years ago. The county is on pace for about 6,500 new permits in 2008 – the lowest total in more than 13 years.

Minton says that despite the slow down in sales and building, home prices have increased about .04 percent in the Raleigh-Wake County area.