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In South Florida, newly built homes regain some appeal:

New home construction is expected to rise 15 to 20 percent over the 949 homes started in 2011 across Palm Beach County, according to Brad Hunter, South Florida director of the Metrostudy research firm.

“People are more optimistic and ready to buy,” he said.

Bob Barclay spent five months looking at resales in South Florida but quickly discovered that buying a new home allowed him to pick out the lot he wanted and have a say on everything from the flooring to the finishes.

Barclay, 63, and his wife, Meg, ended up buying a four-bedroom home being built at Parkland Golf & Country Club.

“We looked east and west at existing homes,” Barclay said. “Every time we thought we had something, we felt we would be compromising.” [Emph. added.]

Don’t forget, an especially large portion of existing homes for sale, particularly in Florida, are distressed properties that are likely to have suffered from abuse or neglect by prior owners. Many would-be buyers will likely feel they “would be compromising” if they decided to buy. Some people just don’t want fixer-uppers no matter what the price. That’s good news for homebuilders. . . .