New-home buyers lured with incentives

Price guarantees, bridge loans becoming more common

The requests for smaller homes have become more numerous and frequent.

While a majority of homebuyers aged 55 and over are seeking homes approximately the same size as their present home, builders catering to the age group can no longer afford to ignore the cash-strapped population demanding a smaller alternative to the 2,400-square-foot new home.

"We had a recent request for a new home half that size," said Brian Gentry of Landed Gentry Homes and Communities and a member of the National Association of Home Builders senior housing council. "The 1,200-square-foot home used to be built only on an odd lot where we could build little else. Now, it could be more of a mainstream product."