In the residential home market, new construction has become more expensive and less desirable. According to the Commerce Department, the cost of new homes reached an all-time high in October, with a median price of $305,000. That's a 15 percent increase from a year before, according to Real Time Economics, a Wall Street Journal blog.
That surge in the cost of new homes has made buying them less realistic for a segment of the population with modest purchasing power. Often, spending less on an older home with the ability to invest incrementally in updates beats the luxury of snapping up a move-in ready place. Experts also say the average consumer feels tentative about the long-term financial prudence of buying a newly built home.
"I think we saw a little price resistance from the consumer," said David Weekley Homes chief executive John Johnson told the Journal. "There are a bunch of people who are waiting until they feel more confident about the future."
The hesitancy is supported by the fact that new home sales have barely improved this year, despite better economic conditions like low interest rates and more jobs. Generally, this is a period when homebuyers would post more activity thanks to the rebounding economy. However, this year new homes have sold at a rate of only 1 percent more than 2013, leading experts to say that new construction is just too expensive.
Generally, the slowdown in demand would cause prices to lessen, but figures won't budge. Until something changes, new homes could be tricky to move, and trickier to afford for the typical homebuyer, especially for first-timers. Sellers may find that the valuation of their new home outpaces the demand, while older houses and units tempt purchasers with lower prices.