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Home Builders with the Best Incentives Are At New Home Communities

February 15, 2024

As mortgage rates have finally stalled at record highs and inflation has slowed, the seemingly-unstoppable ascent of the real estate market has finally cooled. But with many homeowners unwilling to move (and thus force themselves into higher mortgage rates), the inventory of existing homes remains limited. This stasis has impacted both buyers and builders (who still need to sell homes), with buyers gaining more leverage and builders becoming more innovative in their deal making to attract them. 

Builders in new home communities are now offering a range of creative incentives to entice buyers. These changes reflect a market that is becoming more balanced, providing opportunities for both parties to negotiate favorable terms. 

Below we explore the latest trends in new home builder incentives, highlighting the unparalleled opportunities for prospective homeowners to capitalize on these offers. If you’re in the market for a new home in a vibrant community, read on to learn more!

The Landscape of New Home Builder Incentives

In an effort to boost sales, a significant number of builders nationwide have introduced various incentives, with more than half of them offering perks such as lower mortgage rates, assistance with closing costs, and complimentary upgrades or options as of February 2023

Additionally, a notable portion opted for an even more aggressive strategy, and directly slashed their home prices. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), over a third of home builders reduced their prices in December 2023, following several previous reductions in the prior months. 

This strategic approach suggests a ripe market for attentive buyers, especially those capable of making prompt payments or possessing the flexibility to expedite the closing process.

Why New Home Communities Are Leading the Charge

Astute buyers might notice that new home communities are now consistently offering the most appetizing deals. There are many good reasons for this, primarily the abundance of spec homes. 

These homes, also known as inventory homes or move-in-ready homes, are a priority for builders to sell in order to reduce “carrying costs” like utilities, maintenance and loan interest. These costs can accumulate significantly, making completed homes particularly ripe for deals as builders aim to minimize expenses. Moreover, the longer a spec home remains unsold, its value might depreciate due to wear and tear, urging builders to offer attractive deals to prospective buyers.

New Home Builder Incentives: Understanding Builder Offers

No matter the state of the real estate market, every new home builder needs to sell homes. However, the incentives they offer can vary depending on the local market, and the appetite of the builders themselves. Here are some of the most common offers:

  • Closing Cost Contributions: This initiative reduces the financial strain on buyers at the outset. By covering part or all of the closing costs, builders enhance the appeal of their properties, making them accessible to a broader range of potential home buyers, particularly those who may be purchasing a home for the first time or who are tight on funds.
  • Design Center Credits: These credits act as a significant incentive for buyers looking to personalize or customize their new home to fit their own tastes and preferences. Whether it’s selecting premium finishes, opting for high-end appliances, or choosing custom cabinetry, these credits provide the financial flexibility to upgrade the home without impacting the buyer’s budget significantly.
  • Lowered Interest Rates: Some builders have their own in-house mortgage companies. These builders, and others who collaborate with preferred lenders, can offer reduced interest rates to entice buyers to purchase. This can translate into considerable savings over the lifetime of a loan. As of October 2023, the NAHB reported that 29% of builders offered some form of mortgage buydown to incentivize sales. This approach can significantly lower monthly mortgage payments, making home ownership more affordable and attractive, particularly in competitive markets where every opportunity to save (no matter how small) counts.

By providing these incentives, builders not only make their properties more appealing but also add value that benefits the buyer from the beginning, potentially leading to a more satisfying and customized homeownership experience.

New Home Deals: Financing the Dream

The journey to home ownership in a new construction community is often paved with unique financing opportunities. Beyond the traditional mortgage options, builders may offer specialized programs tailored to ease the financial burden on buyers. These unique financial tools are designed to provide peace of mind and financial flexibility to prospective homeowners, and can include examples like:

  • Lease-to-Own Programs: These programs allow prospective buyers to rent a property with the option to purchase it in the future. This can be particularly advantageous for those building credit or saving for a down payment, providing a pathway to homeownership without the immediate financial commitment.
  • Interest Rate Locks: With fluctuating mortgage rates, builders sometimes offer the option to lock in a rate for a certain period. This guarantees the buyer a specific rate even if market rates increase, offering stability and predictability in monthly payments.
  • Specialized Loan Programs: Builders may also partner with lenders to offer unique financing options tailored to the needs of new construction homebuyers. These can include lower down payment requirements, loans that incorporate construction and permanent financing, or programs designed to assist first-time buyers.

New Construction Deals: Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to buy down your interest rate?

Buying down your interest rate, commonly through points, varies in cost but typically equates to 1% of your loan amount per point. The actual cost and savings depend on your lender’s terms and how much you’re willing to pay upfront to lower your monthly mortgage payments.

How are home builder incentives in 2024 compared to 2023?

In 2024, builders are increasingly offering incentives due to a shift in the market dynamics, including rising interest rates and a more balanced demand. Compared to 2023, there’s a noticeable trend towards more aggressive offers, such as higher closing cost contributions and more significant upgrades, to attract buyers in a more competitive landscape.

What types of new home builder deals are available?

Available deals include closing cost contributions, free upgrades (like premium materials or appliances), interest rate buydowns, and special financing options. Some builders are also offering more unique incentives, such as extended rate locks and lease-to-own programs, tailored to ease the buying process and make new homes more accessible.

Exploring Your Homebuying Options in a Hillwood Community

As the real estate market continues to evolve, the opportunities within new home communities have never been more promising. With builders rolling out some of the best incentives seen in years, there’s no better time to explore your options. Whether you’re drawn to the idea of customizing your dream home or taking advantage of favorable financing terms, the path to homeownership is ripe with possibility.

As rates fluctuate and the world changes, the value of a new construction home in a vibrant lifestyle community remains a reliable source of potential value for years to come. We encourage interested buyers to immerse themselves in the experience – visit communities, tour model homes, and engage with our builders to discover the full spectrum of incentives available. In a market brimming with possibilities, communities like those developed by Hillwood offer a unique opportunity.