Real estate agents around the country have seen a shortage of existing home inventory other than short sales, which a buyer may never be able to purchase due to uncompromising banks, and foreclosures, which often need a lot of repairs.
So while it is a great time to buy because of historically low interest rates and depressed prices, it can be difficult to find your dream house in an older neighborhood because potential sellers don't want to move at current prices, a recent Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey revealed. So owners are keeping their homes off the market, waiting for prices to increase.
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The Wall Street Journal headline an article reporting this study, "Sellers' Remorse Hinders Housing Market," appears to be apropos.
So Chicago area builders are actively stepping into the void, offering a wide selection of immediate occupancy, "move-in now" houses for people who can't wait any longer for a home.
"We believe that people want new homes now. So we have the greatest selection of new homes currently available in the Chicago area," said Chris Naatz, vice president of sales for D.R. Horton.
"We are here to meet the demands of people whose leases are up or who just sold their home or who were trying to buy a short sale or foreclosure and got tired of waiting for the bank to make up its mind," he said. "We get a lot of people who are fed up with that process and come to us for a new home -- now.
"And we truly have something for everyone -- townhomes ranging from the $140,000s to the $240,000s, duplexes in our Carillon communities and single-family homes ranging from the $190,000s to the $500,000s. We have a very nice variety of homes at all different stages of construction, for delivery within one month or in 90 days. If someone buys it in time, they can even make some selections," Naatz said.
Log onto www.drhorton.com for more information.
Kari and Todd Waller bought a D.R. Horton home in Cambridge Lakes in Pingree Grove at the end of February and were moved in with their two young daughters two months later.
"We had previously lived in a Cambridge Lakes townhouse but we needed a yard and a bigger home so we decided to move out, rent our townhouse and move in with our parents in May 2011 to save money and think about where we wanted to live long-term," Kari, a high school math teacher, said.
"We had looked at this same model of home with our Realtor. That one was a short sale and we liked its spacious layout, large bedrooms and loft, which we could use as a playroom," she said. "So we stopped into the sales office to see how much it would cost to build that model new and the Realtor found out that they had one available for immediate delivery."
The Wallers looked at the spec home and the rest is history.
"We like new construction and we wanted to be moved in before our daughter started preschool in August, so this was perfect," Kari said.
Nate Amidon, sales manager for Shodeen Residential at its Mill Creek community in Geneva, said his company, too, always have a good inventory of homes ready for sale.
"We get relocations all the time," Amidon said. "We also like to build all of our new floor plans so that people can see them."
Amidon said he's seen more people commit to buy a new home before they've sold their existing house than he was seeing just a year ago. "People now understand that if they price their existing home right, it will sell and some are choosing to rent their homes instead of sell them. Fewer people are putting their lives on hold because of market conditions. They are just forging ahead with alternative solutions."
By the end of October, Shodeen will have 11 immediate delivery homes available at Mill Creek, ranging in size from 2,300 to 3,200 square feet and selling for between $306,800 and $449,300. Five more will be available for delivery by the end of the year. Visit www.shodeenhomes.com/move-in-ready.html to view them.
"Fall is transferee time for us," said Bob Meyn, Midwest director of sales and marketing for Orleans Homes. "We see lots of transferees but especially at this time of year because companies want to transfer employees before the holidays, in preparation for the new year."
Orleans also has a "build it first" policy with regard to new models. "We want to build them before we introduce them to the marketplace early in January and then we can sell them as immediate occupancy homes," Meyn said.
"Given the environment of the resale market today, people prefer to wait to sell their homes, so buyers find limited opportunities. That is why our inventory homes don't stick around long. We try to always have one or two available in each community."
Orleans now has three single-family homes, ranging in price from $359,990 to $372,000, available at its Verona Ridge community in Aurora and one home, listed for $359,990, ready for move-in at Prairie Trail in Lake Villa. Visit www.orleanshome.com for more information.
"Today, if you don't have inventory that allows a buyer to buy and move in immediately, you will lose out to other builders who do have inventory," said Jeff Benach, president of Lexington Homes. "In fact, I am already making sure I have enough units started now so we have them available in the spring."
"People today, in my experience, want to move quickly. The buyer we used to see, who wanted to buy extra time so they could sell their house while we were building, is long gone. Today they don't even look until they have sold their home or decided to rent it out," he said.
Lexington Homes has six row homes featuring two or three bedrooms, available at their Lexington Park2 community in Des Plaines. They range in price from the $250,000s to the $270,000s. Lexington is also offering $20,000 worth of options for only $1, Benach said.
More information is available at www.lexingtonchicago.com.
Pat Curran, president of West Point Builders, said that builders have adjusted their prices to reflect market conditions, so there are many exceptional purchasing opportunities in new construction, including at the West Point Gardens community in the popular Randall Road corridor on the west side of Elgin.
Among the homes available for quick delivery at West Point Gardens is a Dearborn plan, priced at $180,242. It features three bedrooms, 2½ baths, a full basement and two-car garage. Other highlights include a covered porch, two-story foyer with a gracefully turned staircase, living room and dining room, eat-in kitchen, master suite, second-floor laundry, 9-foot first-floor ceilings and a landscaped homesite.
Visit www.westpointgardens.com for more information.
Meritus Homes currently has one 3,716-square-foot, two-story home available for October delivery at Ravenna of Long Grove, a community of 20 estate-style single-family homes in Long Grove. The brick and stone home features four bedrooms and 3½ baths and is priced at $574,900.
Upgraded features include site-finished oak floors throughout the first floor, a butler's pantry and Whirlpool Gold gourmet stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, and a stone fireplace with black wood mantel in the family room, which is pre-wired for a home theater system.
For more information, call (224) 360-6062 or visit www.MeritusHomeBuilders.com.
Right Residential LLC, a firm that is committed to the acquisition, renovation and resale of foreclosed homes it has purchased at auction from banks or directly from homeowners, has two refurbished houses ready for immediate occupancy. One is located in Gurnee and the other in Bartlett.
The Gurnee home is listed for $275,000. A partial brick, two-story home, it is brimming with upgrades and has been newly updated. It includes volume ceilings in the living and dining rooms, new hardwood floors in the kitchen and breakfast area, granite countertops and a finished basement with recreation room.
The four-bedroom, 3½-bath home in Bartlett is listed for $350,000. It features a master-bedroom suite with cathedral ceilings, a brick patio with fenced yard, professionally finished basement with office and full bath, main level den and an island kitchen with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.
For more information on either home, visit www.rightresidentialllc.com.
William Ryan Homes has immediate occupancy homes available at two communities: The Enclave at Fox Trails in Cary and at River Hills in Bolingbrook.
The 3,036-square-foot Jasper plan is available for $375,000 in Cary. It sits on a private cul-de-sac next to a park and features luxury amenities like stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors in many rooms and a full English basement.
The 3,339-square-foot Jackson model is available in Bolingbrook for $378,990. This four-bedroom, 2½-bath Craftsman-style home boasts a 3½-car garage, gourmet kitchen, luxury baths and a deep-pour basement.
Visit www.williamryanhomes.com for further details.
Buyers at Wolf Ridge Condominiums, a new 60-unit development in downtown Northlake, will lock in 5-percent down payment financing, for a limited time, and buyers receive two free parking spaces valued at $9,500.
Twenty-one immediate occupancy luxury condominiums there have been released for sale, said Terrie Whittaker, director of brokerage services for Catapult Realty LLC, the exclusive broker for Wolf Ridge.
"These spacious homes were designed to provide a high quality of life for their owners," said Whittaker. "Each condo features a private balcony with park or city view, a great room and open kitchen, in-unit laundry room, indoor heated garage, plus additional private outdoor parking."
Units range from 1,180 to 1,463 square feet, with prices beginning at $149,900 for the most affordable two-bedroom, one-bath layout and $174,900 for the most affordable two-bedroom, two-bath floor plan. Monthly assessments range from $249 to $280.
For more information, visit www.wolfridgecondominiums.com.