In Wake of Slowing Economy, Developers Offer Incentives to Attract Renters, Buyers

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorNew York–This is the year of incentives. The housing crisis, followed by the economic downturn and loss of jobs, is putting a downward pressure on demand in the multifamily market. To tackle this problem, many developers, owners and managers are offering incentives such as one month’s rent free, free gym memberships, waivers on broker’s fees and in the case of condos, reduced prices and special events to attract more buyers.     For example, in the past month, several renters signed up at 140 Mayhill, a 158-unit luxury rental community in Bergen County, N.J. due to its one-month’s rent free plan. “In the past month, we’ve seen just how much renters appreciate the opportunity to save a month’s worth of rent,” says Jonathan Moore, vice president of Development Value Cos., developer of 140 Mayhill. The offer was initially valid for the month of January, but was extended into February due to positive response. Sterling Properties, owner of several active-adult and town-home communities in New Jersey, is offering reduced prices through the end of winter. “As the market for new construction homes changes, it’s important that Sterling changes too,” Rosanne Brooks, director of sales and marketing at Sterling, tells MHN. “As a boutique developer, we understand the importance of making sure our communities are priced according to the market.”Since Sterling began offering these prices, the company has witnessed an increased interest. “Winter is not typically the strongest season for home sales, so we’re excited by the significant number of buyers who’ve told us that the incentives we’re offering made now the right time for them to make a move,” adds Brooks. According to Brooks, the homebuyer’s tax credit will help those prospective buyers who are very close to purchasing their first homes, but just need a little bit of extra help to get a down payment together. “Overall, I think it will help to inject activity in the marketplace and increase buyer confidence,” she adds.Another developer, Pulte Homes, recently offered a “Let’s Get a Move On” sales event for their active adult communities, Del Webb. “Savvy buyers realized that this three-day event was their best chance to take advantage of incentives that may never be available again,” says Paul Schneier, president of Pulte Homes’ Metro NY/NJ Division.