In March, some of the nation’s largest home builders will band together to launch a multimillion-dollar campaign aimed at persuading potential buyers about the appeal of new homes, but the campaign is mostly targeted at first winning over the buyers’ real estate professionals.

Eighty-four percent of 1,000 buyers recently surveyed say they are working with a real estate agent or expect to, according to a study by Chadwick Martin Bailey, a consumer research company.

“That’s a statistic [builders] can’t ignore,” says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at Hanley Wood, a publishing company centered on the building industry. Builders “need them to sell their value.”

The mostly digital ad campaign, “Start Fresh, Buy New,” is being launched by Builders Homesite Inc, a high-tech marketing company owned by a consortium of 32 of the country’s largest builders. The campaign will emphasize new-homes’ quality of construction, safe neighborhoods, improved floor plans, and lower maintenance costs. It will also welcome agents and brokers to new-home communities and emphasize why “new” is better.

The campaign also will attempt to get new-home communities on the multiple listing service. Often new-homes are not on the MLS until the home is completed.

Builders currently account for about 7 percent of all home sales, but historically that percentage is usually around a 15 to 20 percent marketshare.

“It’s not that people aren’t buying, it’s that they’re buying existing homes,” says Tim Costello, BHI chief executive. “It’s not a demand problem, it’s a marketing and messaging problem. Other builders aren’t the competition, it’s existing houses.”

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