Big Builder Online recently asked its readers if they were planning to starthousing on spec in the next couple of weeks with hopes the homes might beready for first-time buyers utilizing the federal tax credit before itsexpiration at midnight Dec. 1.

The majority of respondents--81.8%--said they believe there's somerelationship between the recent jump in housing starts and builders' need tobuild specs to take advantage of the federal first-time home buyer taxcredit. However, 4.5% of respondents disagreed, and 13.6% said they wereunsure.

"[It] probably accounts for some, but overall it's hard to imagine builderson a mass scale being willing or able to start specs," noted one respondent.But more than half of the respondents--59.1%--said they do plan on buildingmore specs in the next month.

"We are starting specs at communities we know have a building timeframe thatwould allow these new homes to be finished by year end. Also, we arebuilding specs at three communities on the last available home sites topromote the close-out of those communities," said one respondent.

However, 31.8% said they are not planning to do specs, with one respondentattributing that to financing not being available. The remaining 9.1% saidthey were still on the fence.

One-third of respondents said they intended to start three to five specs percommunity in the next month, while one-third said they anticipated one totwo starts per community. "We are starting 14 new specs in nine of our 20active communities," noted one respondent. "It's exciting." However, theremaining third said they didn't intend to start any specs over the nextmonth.