Video: Condo buyers offered layoff mortgage protection

SEATTLE - A local developer is offering a unique incentive to catch the interest of potential buyers.

For the next two months, Stellar Developments is offering anyone who buys a condo at Thornton Place in Northgate a guarantee that if they lose their job, they won't lose their new home.

As long as a buyer is employed when they purchase their unit, the developers will pay up to $2,500 a month toward their mortgage for up to six months if they suddenly get laid off.

The Thornton Place condominiums seemed like a sure bet when the developers broke ground two years ago, during a booming real estate market. The 109 units are attractive and competitively priced, with a lot of emphasis on green building.

"There's a lot of recycled materials," said Jeffery Cook, CEO of Stellar Developments. "There's a lot of local materials. We have worked closely with Metro to tie in the transit features."

But the real estate market is an entirely different beast now. The project had a soft opening last fall, but so far not a single unit has sold.

That's why they're offering the "safety net program." The developers will pay the mortgage for up six months if an owner gets laid off within a year of buying.

"It's a great confidence builder to those that have been sitting on the fence," Cook said. "We think there's a fair amount of pent up demand for buying homes but with all the battering of the information in the news, it takes some confidence building to make that choice."

Jim Bernard, sales manager at Thornton Place, says since the protection plan went public, interest has spiked.

"You know, I was delighted. That sort of an incentive I think is exactly what people want," Bernard said.

Condos at Thornton Place range from studios to two-bedrooms and the average price is in the mid $300,000 range.

This lay off protection plan only applies to the 27 units that are completed, and essentially ready for people to move in.

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