GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—
The annual "Fall Parade of Homes" kicked off Friday, in Grand Rapids. The event allows home builders to show off their latest and greatest designs, and try to sell a few models. However, 75% fewer homes are on display this year compared to 2006.
"The beauty of this particular condo, it’s a 4,000 square foot and it's a fabulous condo, it's a penthouse condo," says architect Wayne Visbeen. He spent the day showing people the million dollar unit inside River House Condos, in downtown Grand Rapids. It’s one of 25 homes on display, according to the Home Builders Association of Greater Grand Rapids. In 2006, 110 homes were a part of the tour.
"Well the market has been really tough," says Visbeen. "In 2008, Visbeen had 11 homes that were in the parade, with about 6 or 7 different builders, and this year we have two," the architect adds. He says two is actually a good number. “Because a couple years ago, we were down to none and one,” says Visbeen.
Architects and builders have a drop in building permits to blame. That means people can’t or don’t want to buy new. Emily Siebert with the Home Builders Association says those permits took a nose dive after 2006. ”There’s just not as much activity obviously in the building industry, it follows the economy. It follows all of those other metrics,” Siebert says.
“I think people have been really hesitant to spend money and build new homes. They’re all kind of holding back trying to watch what’s going on in the market place. But I do think that you’re starting to see people gain confidence in the market place,” Visbeen says optimistically.
With 25 homes to look at, builders say those who go on the parade have a better chance to see every single house along the route. They’re hoping to make a sale or at least spark some interest. Are you interested in the tour? http://www.hbaggr.com/events/parade-of-homes.html
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