Why buy now?
There are a number of good reasons to get off the sidelines and purchase a home.
This buyer’s market won’t last forever. In fact, prices in many communities are slowly inching upward. Successful local builders offer some straight talk about what makes this a great time to buy a new home, especially if you’ve been waiting for a few years to make your move. It’s not too late. You’ll still find great incentives out there on new homes packed with amenities for today’s lifestyles.
The bottom is gone
“Once you hit the bottom, you always miss it, because you don’t know you hit the bottom until after it’s gone,” says Jeff Benach of Lexington Homes. “It’s like stocks.”
“A lot of people feel like the bottom has come and gone,” he adds. “If they wait until 2013 they might wish they had bought now.”
Benach says that is evidenced by the fact that price drops have all but disappeared. Some communities are now opening new sections at higher price points than previous homes built nearby a few years ago.
Benach believes this so strongly that he is taking his own advice, and looking for an investment property for himself, so he doesn’t miss the upswing.
More for your money
The recession forced builders to offer buyers more for their money than ever before. That hasn’t changed.
At Millbrook Pointe in Wheeling, semi-custom townhomes are available from the high $200,000s to the mid-$300,000s. The community is located near the I-94/294 junction.
Standard features include: Pella windows, solid core doors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, marble and granite in all bathrooms, brick and stone exteriors.
“Our standards are above and beyond, at Millbrook Pointe,” says Gary Levitas, president of Northfield Group, Ltd., the developer.
Homes plans have three and four bedrooms. Some have the master suite on the lower level. All have two-car attached garages.
“We also are willing to do small modifications to the existing floor plans,” says Levitas.
Levitas emphasizes that now is the best time to buy for the best price.
“We have seen increased sales with the past couple of months. We have completed phase one and are now in phase two. As sales increase, price points will begin to increase as well.”
However, Levitas says there is still plenty of time to take advantage of the value because the turnaround is just beginning, so “prices are still low because it is not there yet.”
Incentives are out there
Like most builders, Lexington Homes is still offering incentives. But they are not the same as those offered a year or two ago before the market began to rebound.
At Lexington Park 2 in downtown Des Plaines, $1 buys $20,000 in options. Only 15 percent of the rowhomes are left, and Benach says they want to close this phase out.
Next up for Lexington Homes is a new section of 15 townhomes at the Rob Roy community in Prospect Heights. The sales center just opened. Homes will offer the same floor plans as Lexington Park, in the $260,000-$295,000 range
The hottest home in all of William Ryan Homes’ Chicagoland communities is The Jaden. It’s a brand-new home with a flexible floor plan that can expand or contract depending on a family’s needs.
You can see it at River Hills in Bolingbrook. “We get more traffic in that subdivision looking at that model, than any others. We tried to fit with people’s lifestyles today,” says Debbie Beaver of William Ryan Homes.
Buyers have responded. Four were sold in one month this summer.
Beaver describes The Jaden as having a “multigenerational” floor plan. That’s because the master suite can be on the main level or the upper level. A second master suite, which works for extended families, can be included.
The home starts at $3,075 square feet and $305,000. That includes three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and a two-car garage. You can add on and customize the floor plan up to six bedrooms (including the lower level), 4.5 baths, and a four-car garage. There is even a family room extension option. Other lifestyle amenities include a pocket office right off the kitchen, and a morning room.
“This is truly the most flexible floor plan we have,” Beaver says.
The “perfect storm” of low prices, historically low interest rates and value packed homes is still with us,” says Cheryl Bonk of M/I Homes. “That gives you the strongest buying power at the lowest pricing. You can get more for your money.”
M/I Homes specializes in attached single-family homes in prime suburban locations, many walkable to downtowns and train stations — all within a first-time buyer’s price range. For example, townhomes are available starting at $149,900 in St. Charles.
She says first-time buyers are confident buying these homes because they are in great locations. Townhomes in Naperville, Winfield, Orland Park, Carol Stream, Streamwood, Hanover Park, Aurora can be found in the $200,000 range and below.
“These locations are really attractive to these first-time home buyers,” Bonk says. “They have access to the city for work or for social. And from an investment standpoint, in those kinds of locations, it makes buying an easier decision. It will retain its value and appreciate as the housing market continues to strengthen.”
Some of the extra value M/I Homes brings to the table includes 30-year transferrable home warrantees and Energy Star 3.0 ratings.
M/I Homes also has its own financing division, M/I Financial, to ease the mortgage process.
This fall Briarcliff in Lemont will debut townhomes from $199,900. They will use the floor plans from the Sheffield Square community in Orland Park.
A new single-family home community called Garfield Court will open in Winfield, starting from $277,990, including basements and wooded lots.
“When you ask me why buy now, I say, ‘Why not?’” Bonk says. “When you look at price, location and financing, never has everything been all lined up the way it is now.”