As a Real Estate lifer, sometimes it is hard to turn off my need to know what is going on. I think people in every industry are that way…real estate, information technology, automobile…it doesn’t matter. When you are not working, you are still thinking and when you are bumping around on a random weekend with no particular agenda, you may sneak in a little market intel.
I was that guy on Sunday.
While killing time with one of my daughters (who I secretly hope will be an architect, so I am grooming her), I couldn’t help but to stop in several new subdivisions and check out some of the 2011 Parade of Homes entrants. I didn’t get to go out during the official 2011 Parade of Homes weekends so I decided this past weekend was the time. What I saw was very encouraging.
There has been a lot of change in the industry and I am finding that the changes were as I had hoped…builders have begun to build a nicer, but smarter, home. I saw ‘GREEN’ elements in almost all of them. Every single builder had incorporated some element of responsible design, from fully Earth Craft certified to simply doing a MUCH better job of blowing in insulation. I saw smaller footprints and finer finishes and in many cases, a noticeable LACK of pretentiousness.
It was refreshing.
I saw a much higher level of design diversity within the neighborhoods, too. The shapes and sizes and fronts and materials were all QUITE different from house to house. It appears (at least for the time being) that the days of the subdivision where you got to choose from either white, off white or beige vinyl on the exterior are gone. I saw brick, Hardiplank, stone and cedar. I saw Craftsman, Colonial, Tudor and Contemporary influences on the exterior. I saw designs that were narrow and deeper to create a better sense of space between houses.
I also saw a lot of SOLD signs and that is something that was really good to see.