Less New Homes in California

By: Josh Sloan

This year Californian home builders are pulling up stakes and moving on. The number of new house starts planned for 2008 is the lowest number planned for over 50 years. Before you think this must spell out more doom and gloom for California - think about it - it is good news!

It means that the inventory of homes on the market will not be inundated with new properties and all the incentives that can be offered with their sale. New homes are proving more difficult to sell, perhaps because most people seem to prefer to buy an established home. Of course, the favorite is still a new home, but not a brand new home. Why is this? What are the advantages of buying a home has already been lived in?

The idea that everything in the home is brand new and pristine can be offset by the fact that you have to traipse through mud to reach your front door and arrange for land fill and diggers to level out your garden.

A new home is inevitably more expensive than buying an established home and you often have to add on the price of appliances and finishes. A spokesman for one of the larger home builders in the country compared the prices recently. A new home is reckoned to be more expensive than a fifteen year old home, but it will offer more amenities.

Today's brand new homes are mostly being built bigger, although with the energy and environmental situations this may soon change. In the eighties and nineties homes were still being built to around 1200 square feet, whereas in 2008 the average square footage was nineteen hundred.

The vogue in bathrooms has also changed, with homes jumping up from being built with only one and a half baths to sometimes as much as three bathrooms and one of these often being an over-size bathroom.

Brand new homes come with wiring for multiple phones, multiple technology points that are secured and everything is often concealed in the walls during construction. The price may be higher, but it may also reflect value.

However, buying an established home does have advantages, one of them being the mature neighborhood. You have no need to worry if the undeveloped land nearby will turn out to be a skate boarding arena, because the whole area is already developed.

Another joy that can only be appreciated by those who have experienced the alternative: the yard is landscaped. It may sound like an exciting challenge to transform heaps of mud, weeds, slopes and stray concrete into a horticultural dream, but it doesn't come without a few back aches!

Other plusses are that your appliances are already in place, the neighbors can help you with 'local' questions and you do not have to worry about 'settling' cracks.

You also have a better chance to negotiate a good discount with a home owner, whereas a builder has boundaries that usually limit his discretionary discounts. His home was built reflecting current labor costs, whereas fifteen years ago wages were lower.

Whether you choose new or established, with these low mortgage interest rates and lower house prices, the idea would be to just BUY before prices and financing all jump out of your reach!

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