Parade of Homes to show 19 sites

9/12/2012
BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

The last two years, lo­cal builder Josh Doyle has con­structed model homes for dis­play in the an­nual Pa­rade of Homes and got­ten a pretty good re­sponse from vis­i­tors. The area event usu­ally fea­tures more than a dozen homes scat­tered among nu­mer­ous sites through­out the metro Toledo.

This year, how­ever, he has built three homes to dis­play in the pa­rade, which starts next week. And en­thu­si­asm for the event — and pos­si­bly over­all in­ter­est in buy­ing new homes — seems to be grow­ing.

"For the most part, we will prob­a­bly dou­ble the amount of peo­ple that came through last year, based on the num­ber who are e-mail­ing us and in­quir­ing," said Mr. Doyle, owner of Homes by Josh Doyle LLC. "So I think the mar­ket is pick­ing up on the real es­tate side and peo­ple are just get­ting a lit­tle more en­thu­si­as­tic than they were last year.

"My busi­ness is way ahead of last year and I see things get­ting even bet­ter next year," he added.

The Pa­rade of Homes, which is spon­sored by the Home Build­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of Greater Toledo Inc., be­gins Sept. 21 and runs through Sept. 30. It will fea­ture homes at 19 sites through­out north­west Ohio and south­east Mich­i­gan, with home prices rang­ing from $120,000 to more than $500,000.

"We've got 'em on the wa­ter up in Mon­roe and prac­ti­cally any kind of set­ting you want," said Bill Bren­nan, HBA ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent.

"I don't pre­dict how these things will go, but, ab­so­lutely, I think in­ter­est is up in home build­ing."

Mr. Bren­nan said he has re­cently re­ceived four or five new ap­pli­ca­tions from home build­ers.

"So we're see­ing more in­ter­est in peo­ple get­ting back into the as­so­ci­a­tion," Mr. Bren­nan said. "To me, that means they're mak­ing a lit­tle money again."

Mr. Doyle's com­pany is work­ing in three price ranges for the up­com­ing pa­rade: a $240,000 house in White­house, a $375,000 house in Mon­clova Town­ship, and a $500,000 house in Mon­clova Town­ship. "A lot of this is hap­pen­stance. This year I just hap­pened to be build­ing two more mod­els than nor­mal and they all just came to­gether about the same time," he said.

But Mr. Bren­nan said that at re­cent as­so­ci­a­tion mem­ber­ship meet­ings "ev­ery­body is more op­ti­mis­tic" about new home sales. He said there is a gen­eral feel­ing among area home­build­ers par­tic­i­pat­ing in the pa­rade that this year's event, un­like the last sev­eral, is go­ing to be about far more than just show­ing the pub­lic the type of homes they can build.

"I think most sense now that, if they've got a model to show, that there is an op­por­tu­nity to get work off of it," Mr. Bren­nan said. "In­stead of be­ing in the dol­drums, I think they now sense this show will be a gen­er­a­tor of busi­ness."

Hous­ing starts in metro Toledo this year are run­ning about the same as in 2011. But the level of op­ti­mism ap­pears to be run­ning sig­nifi­cantly higher this year among area home build­ers, Mr. Bren­nan said, as the hous­ing pic­ture con­tin­ues to im­prove na­tion­wide. Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Home Build­ers, sales of new sin­gle-fam­ily homes rose 3.6 per­cent in July from the pre­vi­ous month — the fast­est sales rate in two years.

Also, build­ers na­tion­wide pulled more per­mits in July for planned new-home proj­ects than they have in any month since Au­gust, 2008.

In­ter­est in home build­ing lo­cally has re­vived to the point where next year the Home Build­ers As­so­ci­a­tion plans to hold two Pa­rades of Homes — the scat­tered-site edi­tion in the fall, but also a sin­gle-site edi­tion in the spring. That one will fea­ture about nine homes in the new Wal­nut Springs sub­di­vi­sion in Syl­va­nia Town­ship be­ing planned by lo­cal de­vel­oper Doug Wamsher.

It would be the HBA's first sin­gle-site pa­rade in eight years.

"We had nine build­ers show up for lot draw­ing. Ev­ery­one is pretty ex­cited about it," Mr. Bren­nan said. The last sin­gle-site pa­rade was held in 2004, af­ter which sub­di­vi­sion de­vel­op­ment slowed to the point that such an event was dif­fi­cult to pro­duce.

"The last thing we needed was to put 15 spec homes in a neigh­bor­hood and let them sit there," Mr. Bren­nan said. "But I think the whole in­dus­try is feel­ing that maybe it's time we can start do­ing things again."

The up­com­ing fall pa­rade will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. Fri­days, from 1 to 8 p.m. Satur­days, and from 1 to 6 p.m. Sun­days. Tick­ets are $5 and can be bought at any Pa­rade home or at The Ander­sons stores. A Pa­rade of Homes Guide in­clud­ing a map to the homes will be pub­lished Sept. 20 in The Blade.

Con­tact Jon Chavez  at jchavez@the­blade.com  or 419-724-6103.