Closeout Sale

Overloaded inventory may mean new-home bargains in 2008

Many small-volume homebuilders are sitting with finished, unsold houses in a cold market. Some of those builders have filed for bankruptcy, but most——according to Steven Schaffer, the director of loan production for the Royal Bank of Canada’s RBC Builder Finance—have “held on so far with the tips of their fingers.” Schaffer describes the spring 2008 home-selling season as “make or break time” for those builders. That may mean rock-bottom bargain prices at last for those empty houses dotting Chicago and suburban neighborhoods. “I’m a banker and I want my inventory sold,” Schaffer says, “but if I were talking to family or friends, I’d say, ‘Wait until spring and summer. You’ll see better deals.’”

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