New Home Prices Going Up In 2018

With new home prices going up in the last year, many home buyers are wondering how high new home prices will go in 2018 and whether they will be able to afford a new home.

There is a shortage of new home inventory on the market with homes that are available getting more expensive by the month. In addition, 30-year fixed rate mortgage interest rates are predicted to go over 5% in 2019. Increased prices plus higher interest rates could make waiting to buy a new home an expensive decision for homebuyers.

Shortage of buildable lots and increased land prices

The lack of buildable lots is one of the largest issues facing home builders and one of the reasons that new home inventory is not keeping up with demand. Many builders don’t have the resources to develop their own land and depend on large developers to create buildable lots. This has created a backlog and increased the cost of new lots.

Increased regulatory costs

Local land use policies have made it more difficult to develop buildable lots and increased regulations have made the lots more expensive. This is leading to smaller lots and homes with higher costs that can make it difficult for builders to deliver new homes at a price the market can bear.

Sharp increase in construction materials due to tariffs

Another reason for new home prices going up is a recent effective 20% tariff rate on Canadian softwood lumber which is partially responsible for increasing the cost of a new home by approximately $9,000 in the last year. This acts much like a tax on homeowners and renters as even a typical apartment has gone up by as much as $3000. Other factors in the sharp rise in lumber are storm related repairs, especially in Texas and Florida, as well as increased demand as the result of a healthy home building market.

Many steel and aluminum products used in construction are also being affected by new tariffs. Homebuilders are having a hard time keeping up with the rapid rise in construction material prices while trying not to raise prices to the point where they can no longer sell their homes.

Shortage of Skilled Labor

With approximately 230,000 unfilled construction jobs, new home production has been greatly constrained which is another factor preventing home builders from meeting the demand for new homes. When the recession hit in 2008, many workers left the construction industry for other careers. Fewer young people are interested in construction related careers these days with parents steering them toward technology and white-collar careers.

Higher interest rates on home mortgages

The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark rate for a second time during its June meeting and is predicting four rate hikes in 2018. 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged around 4.86% in May and are predicted to go above 5% in 2019. While this is historically still a very good rate, it lowers the amount homebuyers can pay for a home at a time when new home prices are going up.


The combination of fewer buildable lots, increased regulatory fees, higher material costs and skilled labor shortages are keeping new home inventory low and new home prices continue to rise. When higher home mortgage interest rates are added to the equation, the number of people who can afford a new home gets reduced.

With new home prices going up quickly in 2018, anyone considering buying a new home in the next few years should consider doing so sooner rather than later or they could find it difficult to find an affordable home or to qualify for a mortgage loan.

More Info

To find out more about new home availability and prices in Eastern North Carolina, please visit A Home or give us a call at 910-672-7296.


New Home Design Idea Photo Galleries

McKee Homes has just added design idea photo galleries to our website, including kitchen and bath collections from some of our most popular floor plans. The new Design Ideas section of our photo gallery page includes kitchen, bath and design studio photos. Additional collections will be added in the future such as drop-zone areas with hooks and cubbies as well as screened porches, patios and outdoor fireplaces.

The new kitchen and bath galleries include single family home, Epcon home and townhome kitchen collections.  The majority of the homes we build are single family homes from elegant, highly functional floor plan designs which we have developed over the years, each with up to four different front elevation styles.

McKee Homes is also an Epcon franchise and we build homes based on six beautiful Epcon floor plans in some of our neighborhoods. Epcon homes are cottage-style open floor plans with large rooms. They have few, if any, steps between indoor and outdoor spaces with beautifully design courtyards ready for entertaining.

We also included some of our custom townhome kitchens and baths and will be adding more as our new Villas at Forest Hills townhomes in Pinehurst, NC are completed.

Kitchen Collections

The new kitchen collection galleries showcase a variety of cabinets, countertops, appliances, plumbing and electrical fixtures and flooring we have used over the last few years. Some of the kitchens also show upgraded options and features available through our design studio with pre-sale home purchases. Each photo is labeled with floor plan, neighborhood, lot number and date so when you see something you love, we can look up the selections for that home and give you the details.

Bath Collections

The bath collection galleries showcase a variety of cabinets, countertops, glass, tile, tub and showers and plumbing fixtures we have used over the last few years. Some of the bathrooms also show upgraded options and features available through our design studio with pre-sale home purchases. As with the kitchen photos, each bath photo is labeled with floor plan, neighborhood, lot number and date so we can give you the details by looking up the selections for that home when you see something you love.

Design Studios

Our design studio gallery shows many of the selections available in our Fayetteville design studio including flooring, kitchen and bath tile, exterior finishes, lighting and plumbing fixtures, as well as kitchen cabinet options. We will soon be adding a new photo gallery of the Wilmington area design studio which is currently under construction in Leland, NC.

More Information

If you would like more information about any of the items, finishes, and design selections in our new design idea photo galleries, please feel free to contact us by email or phone at 910-672-7296


Buyer’s Agents Profit Working with McKee Homes Online Sales Team

McKee Homes is offering Realtors working as buyer’s agents a unique opportunity to partner with our skilled and knowledgeable online sales team to streamline and simplify the sales process. This relationship frees up the buyer’s agent to work with more buyers and takes much of the work out of the process for them.

How McKee Homes’ Online Sales Team works with you as a buyers’ agent:

  • Our online sales team will answer questions and provide pricing, feature sheets and floor plans seven days a week.
  • We will Cc buyer’s agents when dealing directly with their clients so the agent is always in the loop.
  • We work side-by-side with buyer’s agents to promote the sale.
  • We deliver an incredible and unique home buying experience to buyers and their agents.
  • Our online sales team has been trained to work with any member of the sales team, whether it is a McKee Homes’ sales consultant, or a buyer’s agent.

According to Jayne James, the McKee Homes Online Sales Manager, “You have a loyal online sales team working with, and watching out, for you. We’re going to confirm with every lead that comes in to us who their agent is and then report back to you. We are going to answer the phone (even at 9:30 on Friday night)—okay, maybe we’ll respond with a text…

We’re going to begin an experience for you and your buyers that I know you’ll appreciate. We’re going to keep an eye on who’s visiting each of our models and let you know so-and-so snuck in last weekend without telling you. We’re also going to give you the details on our hottest inventory before it hits our marketing channels.

Bottom line—we’re going to help each other make money as well as help your buyers attain the home of their dreams”.

In addition to the benefits of using our online sales team, McKee Homes onsite representatives work for McKee Homes and can only sell McKee Homes.  They also take the work out of writing a contract by preparing our own McKee Homes contract with the buyer’s info and delivering it directly to the buyer’s agent to present to their buyer.

“Scharina and the Online team have provided great product updates and always keep me informed about current sales promotions.  I don’t have to look far to help my buyers discover something to meet their price point and must-haves in local McKee Homes.”
Audra Holland
Agent with GO Realty
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate

To find out more about creating a working relationship with the McKee Homes Online Sales Team, please give us a call at 910-672-7296 to speak with Jayne, Tracy or Scharina or contact us via email.


Build Equity Faster and Pay Lower Taxes With A New Home

Buying a new home will help you build equity faster and pay lower taxes compared to buying a used home. New homes help you build equity faster because you don’t have to spend as much money on maintenance and repairs. Owners of newly built homes generally pay lower taxes over the first two years as well.

Build Equity Faster

Owners of newly built homes can save up to 15% on homeowner’s insurance and their homes have higher resale value and appreciate more than used homes.

The expensive systems in a new home such as HVAC, plumbing and electrical, as well as kitchen appliances, are new and under warranty so there’s no worries about spending large amounts of money on replacing them.

A 10-year-old home can cost as much as 580% more in annual maintenance and improvement than a newly built home. It’s hard to build equity in a home if you have to replace expensive systems and appliances.

Average cost to replace these common items:

  • Roofing: $15,000
  • HVAC System: $5,000
  • Kitchen Appliances: $2,500
  • Water Heater: $2,000

Lower Taxes

According to, owners of newly built homes generally pay lower taxes over the first two years. In addition, home owners in general can deduct their mortgage interest from their taxes.

The Tax Benefits of Home Ownership in 2018 page at has quite a bit of information on deducting mortgage interest and states that “In the new tax bill for 2018 interest paid on HELOCs and home equity loans is no longer tax deductible, while interest on up to $750,000 of mortgage debt still is.”

Lower Closing Costs

Many home builders work with lenders to reduce or eliminate closing costs for their home buyers. McKee Homes will pay closing costs up to 1.5% of the sales price when using one of our preferred lenders.


Because you can build equity faster and pay lower taxes, and in many cases pay lower or no closing costs, it makes sense to buy a new home as one of the best investments in your family’s future


McKee Homes Floor Plan Collections

McKee Homes offers over 20 unique floor plans with up to six different front elevations per floor plan. There are seven unique elevations grouped together in collections referred to as floor plan collections.

Trying to find and pick out the perfect floor plan for their new home can be confusing, or even overwhelming, for home buyers. This article breaks down the floor plans, elevations and collections in a simple easy to follow way that will make it easier to understand how to find the perfect floor plan on the McKee Homes website or while talking to one of our online or onsite sales consultants.

Floor Plans are grouped into three categories

  • Single Family Home (SFH)
  • Epcon (SFH or attached)
  • Townhome

Collections refer to the front elevation style of our homes. Each SFH floor plan has up to six different front elevation styles. Our Epcon floor plans have up to three different front elevation styles.

Single Family Home Collections

  • Classic
  • Coastal
  • Craftsman
  • Craftsman KS
  • European
  • Traditional

Epcon Collections

  • Classic (single-story)
  • Craftsman (single-story)
  • Bungalow (similar to Craftsman with the addition of second-floor guest suite)

Townhomes do not offer more than one front elevation per floor plan, although there are usually 2-3 unique floor plans offered in each building.

Each McKee Homes neighborhood offers specific floor plans and floor plan collections, although many neighborhoods offer home buyers the option to choose their home from a different floor plan collection if they write a contract before the home is built, which we call a pre-sale home.

To view McKee Homes floor plans, go to our main floor plans web page. Click on any of the floor plans shown to see which floor plan collections, or front elevations, are available for that floor plan.

On the floor plan group page, you will see the default elevation at the top with options such as a side-load or three-bay garage. Just below the top image you will find the Choose Elevation section where you will see all elevations available for the floor plan. Click on any of the elevations shown to see the floor plan layout, brief description and a list of neighborhoods where that specific floor plan collection is available. There is also a photo gallery showing both exterior and interior images of how the finished home may look depending on options chosen and neighborhood.

Just under the floor plan description is a Download Floor Plan button that will take you to a page where you can enter your name and email to download high-quality printable floor plan brochures.

You only need to sign up once to access all floor plans and other content on the McKee website. If you go back to the download page and still see the signup form, simply refresh your browser page and the form should disappear leaving only the Download Floorplan button.

If you have questions about any of our floor plans or collections, please call us at 910-672-7296 or fill out any of the simple forms on the floor plan pages and one of our knowledgeable online consultants will be happy to assist you.


Filtered Fresh Air Intake System Advantages

A filtered fresh air intake system adds fresh air to a home heating and cooling system. This improves indoor air quality by diluting polluted or stale indoor air and also pressurizes the home to help keep pollutants out.

Most residential systems use the HVAC air handler fan to pull in clean outside air from a duct through the wall or attached to a foundation vent. The air is filtered just before it enters the air handler and mixed with the return air and then dispersed evenly throughout the building through the supply duct system.

Fresh air enters the duct before the air handler fan which reduces the volume of return air being pulled from inside the home. Since the supply air exceeds the return air, a positive pressure is maintained in the home when the HVAC system is in operation. Positive pressure reduces infiltration of outside air from undesirable locations and helps keep irritants and other pollutants from entering the home.

Filtered fresh air intake system benefits include:

  • Cleaner, fresher smelling home with less dust
  • Helps prevent chemicals, pesticides, pollen, mold spores and other pollutants from entering home
  • Reduces drafts from windows and doors as well as back-drafting
  • Adds air to the home to replace air exhausted by clothes dryer, bathroom exhaust fans and range hood vent.

A filtered fresh air intake system is sometimes referred to as passive ventilation as it doesn’t require electricity, it’s quiet and inexpensive to operate. Passive ventilation is also low-maintenance because it doesn’t have moving parts and the only maintenance needed is periodical cleaning of the filters.

Most newer homes are well insulated and almost airtight. While that is great for lowering heating and cooling costs, it can lead to poor indoor air quality and an unhealthy home environment.

McKee Homes includes a filtered fresh air intake system to all our new homes greatly improving the air quality and minimizing indoor pollutants making our homes environment healthier and more comfortable.

For more information on our new homes and filtered fresh air intake systems, please contact us by email or call us at 910-672-7296.


USB Charging Stations

USB charging stations are the latest smart home improvement giving you the convenience to charge multiple devices at once! Everyone knows this feeling, you are running around the house looking for the one charger you have left while your device is on 1 percent battery. That panicky feeling we have all experienced can be alleviated when you use the USB charging station in your home! It cuts down on the clutter, reduces your outlet needs to a single outlet, and is more energy efficient. With a charging station, you use one power outlet for one transformer which in turn provides power to four or more USB ports.

Read More


TV Media Connection System

To make it easier to install your flat screen TV or home theater system after move-in, McKee Homes installs a TV media connection system where a large screen TV and media system will be mounted. The TV media connection system is designed to accommodate both power and low-voltage devices so you can manage all your connections easily in one location with cables and wires hidden from view.

Whether you mount your flat screen TV on the wall or set up a home theater system, the TV media connection system keeps cords and cables out of the way and makes the project easier insuring a professional look. Because the connection system box is recessed into the wall, your TV or furniture can go flush against the wall if necessary. Most connection boxes come with a flat cover plate in case the TV is moved to a different location. The trim and cover plates on the wall box can also be painted to match the wall color if desired.

Home buyers that purchase their home before it is built, or before drywall installation, can choose the location where the TV media connection system will be installed in their new home. Homeowners with older homes can of course install a TV media connection system themselves or hire an electrician to install one for them. Either way, the TV media connection system makes a home theater or wall mount TV easier to install and more professional looking.

There are different sizes and types of wall boxes available to create a TV media connection system. Most of them come with knockouts for 2-gang and 4-gang electrical boxes for maximum versatility. This allows space for 2-4 electrical outlets as well as HDMI, coaxial cable and sound cable connections. Having all these connections is one recessed wall box is perfect for connecting speakers, satellite TV, surround sound, and other media or data connections.

More Information

For more information about McKee Homes TV media connection system and other SMART Move home systems installed in all our new homes, please visit our SMART Move web page or call us at 910-672-7296.


3 Benefits To Having An Open Floor Plan

Open layouts are becoming more and more popular in modern homes as they give the illusion of a bigger space, provide more natural sunlight and outdoor views, and create a more safe and social environment! The love for an open floor plan has increased in popularity and there are lots of benefits to choosing this type of floor plan for your new home. The spacious layout opens up the room and blends multiple spaces together between the kitchen, dining, and living room great for entertaining and being around family and friends.

Here are 3 additional benefits to having an open floor plan!

  1. Works better for entertainment: If you like to entertain and host parties this is the perfect floor plan for you. While your guests are mingling even if you aren’t in the direct room you can still interact with everyone. The island can be used as the focal piece to gather around all your family and friends while you prepare the food.
  1. Natural Lighting: With all the open space and windows in the home your house attracts more natural lighting. This is helpful because you are using your electricity less which could save you on your energy bill! Also, by eliminating extra interior walls to open up the space, the windows will bring more sunlight into your home and give you a better view of your outdoor landscape.
  1. Safer for kids: Rather you have small children or older ones this floor plan allots for extra space for the kids to hang out and for you to keep an eye on them. This saves on the amount of time hopefully you will have to call out to your little ones over and over (hopefully)!

McKee Homes offers many open floor plans in our homes located in Fayetteville, Raleigh, and Wilmington areas. For a complete listing of our homes go to Plans.


McKee Homes Installs Apple HomeKit Compatible Devices

Does your new home feature Apple HomeKit compatible devices?

Apple’s HomeKit app is a great way to control all your home’s smart devices and accessories from one app. You can even ask Siri to perform commands such as turn off your lights or lock the front door. With the HomeKit app you can connect smart devices together to make your lights automatically to turn off while simultaneously making your window blinds close at a specific time each day. Before HomeKit and the Home app, you had to manually control each device with its own separate app, and set each one to do a specific task at a certain time.

Apple launched its HomeKit app with iOS 10 and watchOS 3 in 2016. It serves as a centralized hub for managing Apple HomeKit-enabled smart accessories. The app features integration with Control Center, 3D Touch quick actions, and support for Siri. The app’s settings are also synced through Apple’s iCloud storage service, so any iCloud-enabled Apple device such as an iPhone or iPad can be used to control your Home.

Every HomeKit-enabled smart accessory automatically works with Siri once you set it up through its HomeKit-enabled app. Siri is the unified interface that allows you to use voice commands to control the smart devices and accessories. You will still need to set up each device or accessory in its own app to gain full access to settings, touch controls, and more, but once set up, you can control them from the HomeKit app with Siri.

To use the Home app, you need at least one iOS device with the Home app installed. You also need at least one home, one room, and one HomeKit-enabled smart accessory. The Home app comes pre-installed on any Apple device running iOS 10, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system for iPhone or iPad.

HomeKit also offers security for your smart home and can enforce end-to-end encryption between all smart accessories and your Apple devices. So hackers can’t steal your data, work their way into your communications, or take control of your home.

For more information, visit

McKee Homes installs Apple HomeKit compatible devices in all our new homes as part of our SMART Move campaign. We are currently installing the Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt and Liftmaster belt drive WiFi garage door openers. For a complete list of available devices and accessories, please contact us at 910-672-7296.