Builders Address Home Affordability Concern


Recent indications of declining home affordability and rising mortgage rates need not discourage first-time buyers or homeowners eying to sell their residences and scale down to a smaller house.

Mortgage rates, at their current levels are still historically cheap at around 4%, reports Sarasota Bay Real Estate (SBRE) whose website has a facility to track monthly mortgage interest rate trends. Notably, mortgages carried as much as 7 percent interest after the U.S. economy took a beating in 2007, according to the full service realty firm.

SBRE adds that 2014 maybe the last chance on cheap housing as home prices continue their uptrend, with possible adverse effects on home affordability. A recent study by the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) showed that available homes in the market are currently affordable to 64.7 percent of active buyers as of the 2013 fourth quarter, down from 75 percent in the same period in 2012.

Award-winning models suited for average buyers

Builders Address Home Affordability Concern

Thus aware of the affordability concern in the market, many builders have developed several residences within the budget of the average American home buyers. Many of these were showcased in the 2014 Parade of Homes organized by the Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association.

National homebuilder Taylor Morrison entered in this annual home tour its Carlisle model which is priced from the high $100s. This two-story coach home design has three bedrooms and two baths and a half in its floor area of 1,627 square feet. Set on display at the Palma Sola Trace community in Bradenton, this model won the top award in its category for multi-family homes in the Manatee-Sarasota house showcase. It got high marks in architectural detail, curb appeal, floor plan, kitchen, and master suite.

Another affordable bet is the Mossy Oak model by Maronda Homes which was displayed at Charleston Park in North Port, carrying a starting price of $189,900. This too is a three-bedroom home with touches of luxury in its spacious tiled porch, foyer, extra large lanai, and meticulous detailing that includes tray ceilings, columns, and crown molding. This design flaunts designer tile and wood including 42-inch birch cabinets in its open floor plan kitchen.

Spacious, family-friendly choice

Affordable pricing likewise comes in the parade entry of Center Pointe Homes, the four-bedroom, three-bathroom Catania model. Its price starts at $192,500, and family-friendly features count among its prime selling points. Its layout provides expansive gathering space, be it in the kitchen and breakfast area or in the dining or its great room. This model also features a spacious study and a three-car garage.

The low $200s is the starting price that Lennar Homes hopes to draw buyer interest in its Dogwood model showcased at River Strand in Bradenton. A veranda home in design, its living area can be set either downstairs or upstairs. It has a floor plan of 1,345 square feet, designed with an open great room, two bedrooms and two baths, plus a two-car garage.

Like the Carlisle of Taylor Morrison, Dogwood also emerged as the overall winner in its class in the multi-family category. It drew its winning points from architectural detail, curb appeal, floor plan, kitchen, and master suite.