Home builders boost incentives in hopes of attracting buyers

    As prices continue to rise in housing markets across the nation, and prospective homebuyers sit idly waiting for mortgage rates to dip to more affordable levels, construction professionals have begun to examine ways in which they can boost monthly sales figures. Current conditions are largely favorable for individuals hoping to buy a house in Charlotte, but additional incentives could significantly sweeten a deal.

    In order to lure buyers to available residential properties, builders both in North Carolina and across the country have been offering prospective homeowners additional reasons to submit purchase offers, according to The Wall Street Journal. Such enticements include upscale upgrades like free appliances, blinds, garage-door openers and premium flooring materials, as well as financial assistance in paying closing costs, covering a portion of the down payment and even temporarily reducing borrowers' interest rates.

    Economy affected by government impasse
    Though they are still well below historical norms, mortgage rates have been a cause of concern for many buyers, as popular lending products have seen an increase of more than a full percentage point since May. After falling for three consecutive weeks, rates increased recently, and caused some buyers to back away from potential deals.

    During the week ending October 10, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 4.23 percent, according to the latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey released by Freddie Mac. This was up slightly from 4.22 percent the preceding week and considerably from the same time last year when the rate was 3.39 percent. In addition, 15-year FRMs ticked up to 3.31 percent from the previous week's reading of 3.29 percent and 2.70 percent a year ago.

    Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist for the government-sponsored enterprise, said the upticks – however minimal – were likely brought about by recent economic developments.

    "Mortgage rates were little changed amid the federal debt impasse in Washington, D.C. and a light week of economic data releases," he said. "Of the few releases, the private sector added an estimated 166,000 jobs in September, which were fewer than the market consensus."

    Incentives helping to offset waning buyer interest
    As more consumers begin to second-guess their home buying abilities, the add-ons being offered by construction professionals may be helping to keep the market moving forward.

    The National Association of Home Builders recently announced that 52 residential sectors nationwide have returned to pre-recession levels of activity. The organization's latest Leading Markets Index showed that the national housing market is running at 85 percent of normal activity. As 350 metropolitan areas are regularly examined by the NAHB, it is evident that real progress has been made, but work still lies ahead.

    "This index helps illustrate how far the U.S. housing recovery has come, and also how much further it has to go as we continue to face some significant headwinds in terms of credit availability, rising costs for lots and labor, and uncertainties regarding Washington policymaking," said Rick Judson, chairman of the NAHB and a home builder from the Queen City.

    Those looking to either buy or sell a house in Charlotte can benefit by utilizing the cutting-edge technology and expansive local housing databases offered at Lodestone Real Estate. This agency has grown into a local authority and has helped countless individuals successfully complete the transition to homeownership.

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