When the housing recovery began 8 years ago, small new starter homes had virtually vanished. Construction costs had soared, land prices leaped, and labor costs shot up amid worker shortages, all making it more difficult for builders to make a profit on new home building. Additionally, the Great Recession of 2007-09 had set back the early careers of many millennial home buyers. These reasons – combined with the tighter lending standards that came into play during the recession – all made it difficult to build and sell starter homes at a profit, and so new home builders focused on building homes priced above $400,000 nationally.
Today, many millennials are in better paying jobs and have been saving a down payment. They are getting married and finally feel ready to buy. Luckily, some home builders have figured out how to make a worthwhile profit on smaller homes by limiting features and floor plans, allowing them to take advantage of bulk pricing on materials. And so, finally, we are starting to see better availability of starter homes in the $200,000 to $300,000 price range.