SBJ Parade of Homes Feature

This week’s issue of Springfield Business Journal is its real estate special issue, with many features on the 2008 Parade of Homes, and several HBA members. Over the next few days, we will highlight these SBJ stories on this page. Today, read SBJ’s take on the unprecedented variety in the 2008 HBA Parade.

2008 Parade of Homes builds on variety

The Home Builders Association of Greater Springfield has been showcasing homes for more than 50 years through the annual Parade of Homes, but this year, variety is the key.

The 2008 Parade of Homes, slated for 1–6 p.m. June 20–22 and June 27–29, features 27 homes from Marshfield to Blue Eye, with prices ranging from $145,000 to $950,000. Click here for a guide to the parade, complete with photos, descriptions and directions for each stop.

“This is probably the parade that covers the most area,” said HBA Operations Manager Charlyce Ruth. “And it’s probably our largest price range of homes.”

The fact that there are so many homes on the market isn’t necessarily a reflection of slowed market conditions, Ruth said.

“More than half (of the parade homes) are already sold, and two already have home-owners living in them,” she said. “Everybody knows the numbers are down, but we’re still a strong area. Our builders are still working hard, and they’re still building and remodeling beautiful homes.”

Longtime HBA member Trent Cowherd of Cowherd Construction is a first-time Parade of Homes participant this year, showing a home in Republic that has nearly 2,000 square feet and is priced at $189,900.

He said he participated in a spring showcase about 10 years ago and got quite a bit of exposure. With additional inventory this year, he decided it was the right time to participate in the parade.

“We think we can show a lot of house for the dollar,” Cowherd said.

Something almost new

While remodeled homes have appeared in previous parades, two on this year’s route are unusual because of their proximity to downtown.

Both remodeled entries are in the West Central Neighborhood and are the work of Jack Pugh and David Rhodes of B’s Renaissance Renovations.

One of the homes was built in the 1890s, Pugh said, but it’s completely new in almost every way.

“We tried to do something that’s both new and fresh, but also pays tribute to the roots,” Pugh said.

Parade versus fuel costs

Ruth said it’s difficult to judge how the combination of higher gas prices and an expanded parade route will affect turnout, but she doesn’t expect much impact.

She said the HBA gets phone calls asking about the parade as early as January, and she’s heard of at least three people who come from out of state, from as far away as Colorado and Florida, planning their vacations around the parade.

“If people are willing to fly in from out of state, I think we’ll see people come out locally,” she said.