Home builders slash prices, help buyers

Construction workers build homes in San Ramon, Calif.

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: Big players in the housing market aren't waiting for Congress to do anything. Homebuilders are trying to get creative to shore up their industry. Rachel Dornhelm has that story.


Rachel Dornhelm: There's still some construction going on, but for the most part, companies like KB Homes are trying to sell the houses they've already built. Brad Hunter is Chief Economist for the industry research firm Metrostudy. He says, unsure when the market will pick up again, big builders are slashing prices.

Brad Hunter: The other thing that they're doing is changing their designs to offer smaller homes and taking out some of the more expensive upgrades that had been thrown in.

They are also looking for ways around the tight credit market. Eric Landry is an associate director at Morningstar. He says homebuilders have come up with some creative solutions.

Eric Landry: One of the tools is something called down payment assistance.

That's when the home builder supplies the down payment but makes it looks like it's the buyer's money on the loan approval. When the new federal housing bill goes into effect next month, builders will be banned from doing this. Landry says that's got the industry lobbying Congress hard to keep that option open.

I'm Rachel Dornhelm for Marketplace.

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