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Lets make a deal
Bargains could be plentiful at Home Expo
SCOTT ROGERS | The Times A new home is for sale at Marina Bay subdivision on Cool Springs Road. Local experts say buyers could find deals on homes and related construction and remodeling services at next weekend’s Home Expo in Gainesville.
For consumers, next weekend’s Home Expo at the Georgia Mountain Center could represent an opportunity to take advantage of a buyer’s market.
For builders and other exhibitors, it is a chance to move excess inventory and generate business for an industry that has been weathering its fair share of economic challenges.
The annual show has about 100 exhibitors, including homebuilders, remodelers, real estate agents and mortgage brokers.
Van Nease, executive director of the Home Builders Association of Gainesville-Hall County, said that while the home construction industry has faced challenges in the past year, many of his members are optimistic and are ready to do business
“Our major issue is letting the consumer know that there is an opportunity here,” Nease said. “But if they sit on the fence too long, that opportunity will go away, because the building industry will get through the excess inventory. When that happens, prices will go back up.”
“With mortgage rates low and banks willing to loan, it’s a great time to buy,” he said.
Roger Tutterow, a Mercer University economist, said it is a buyer’s market in housing right now.
“For the first time in quite a while, the buyers have good positioning against the sellers,” Tutterow said. “Because there is so much inventory out there, they feel like they are able to get some deals they would not otherwise be able to get.”
He said another advantage is selection, suggesting that buyers no longer have to settle for the one home that is available.
“They can find the right kind of product that’s right for them,” Tutterow said.
He also said for the first time in a decade, builders are willing to negotiate, either on price or by including a few extras.
He said builders may include enhancements, such as a major appliance, a pool or a finished basement in order to protect the price point. If a home in an existing subdivision is sold for a significantly lower price than comparable homes, it tends to drive down the value of all the houses in the neighborhood, something developers want to avoid.
Some developers in recent months have included incentives, such as a new car, to lure in prospective buyers.
“There is some wiggle room in terms of price and amenities because builders want to move some houses. So, it’s a great time to be a homebuyer,” he said.
Tutterow also believes a show like the Home Expo is a good time for others, such as heating and air conditioning contractors and remodelers. “Some of the demand for remodeling comes when people purchase an existing home and want to go in and make changes,” he said, adding that others who choose to hold on to their home may decide to make desired improvements.
Nease said the show next week will be a one-stop shopping center with homebuilders, realtors and financing under one roof.