After CEO and Chairman Steve Hilton teased a new entry-level home line at HIVE last week, Meritage Homes Corp., the country's seventh largest builder, officially announced the introduction of its LiVE.NOW. line this morning.

The Company’s strategic decision comes at a time when demand for new homes is increasing among first-time buyers who desire to enter the market to escape continuously escalating rents that make homeownership more attractive, according to Meritage's news release. Public builders LGI Homes and D.R. Horton, with its Express line, have enjoyed success with starter homes.

“According to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, the Millennial generation is expected to form two million households per year over the next decade. Many of them will be purchasing their first homes,” Hilton said in a news release. “We are offering those buyers more than a no-frills entry-level home by incorporating Meritage’s industry-leading energy efficiency and other upgraded features in an ‘entry-level plus’ home at an affordable price.”

In the release, Meritage said LiVE.NOW. homes will generally range from 1,800 to 2,500 square feet, with prices starting in the low $200s in most markets. The line will include homes ready for quick move-in, making the dream of home ownership an immediate reality. At HIVE, Hilton commented that he thought millennials valued a quick move in instead of waiting six months for a home.

Meritage says its homes incorporate features that enhance a homeowner’s lifestyle, such as kitchen islands, pantries and granite counter tops, in addition to upgraded cabinets, laundry rooms, plumbing fixtures and appliances. LiVE.NOW. homes also include Meritage’s standard suite of technologies.

“People want a quality home that is comfortable, safe and healthy for their family to live in and enjoy for many years, and it’s our job to make that affordable for them,” Hilton added in the release. “With the improved quality of life offered by our LiVE.NOW. homes, homeowners of those Meritage homes will be inclined to stay in their first homes longer before making the decision to move up to their next homes.”

In addition to the comfort and upgrades offered in LiVE.NOW. homes, buyers of those homes will also enjoy a streamlined and efficient home buying process and experience. LiVE NOW. homes are currently available in Phoenix and Houston, with more coming soon across the country.