Centex ( CTX), one of the nation's largest homebuilders, may be having trouble moving its inventory of homes in Atlanta. The builder said late Wednesday that it has rolled out a GM ( GM)-like employee discount plan that offers discounts of 5%, plus up to $20,000 in additional incentives, for buyers who close on certain of its Atlanta-area homes by the end of the year. Centex officials didn't immediately return a call seeking comment. The discount is being offered on 23 new home communities in the Atlanta area marketed under the name Centex Homes and Fox & Jacobs Homes, according to the company's Web site. The discount is only being offered if the home is financed through CTX Mortgage, Centex's in-house mortgage financing unit. CTX will waive the 1% loan origination fee under the program. While other builders offer such incentives, rarely has the issue been brought to full public attention like Centex has now done. Typically, builders will offer incentives on a home where the original buyer has canceled his order, and the builder is looking to resell the home quickly. Other times, builders offer incentives for less desirable houses within a community (perhaps the view is bad). In its latest
earnings release Tuesday, Centex said orders rose 12% across the country. However, orders rose just 2% in the Southeast, which includes the Atlanta market. About 18% of Centex's total orders for the latest quarter were in the Southeast.