Parade of Homes attracts customers in “upbeat” year

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Whether it’s a chance to check out the latest in décor and amenities, curiosity about emerging communities or pent-up demand for new homes, the 2009 Parade of Homes has seen activity – and potential buyers – out in force.

Kirk Standley, director of events for the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs, which sponsors the three weekend tour, said that compared to last year, the tone among visitors and builders was much more upbeat.

“Last year, the economy had a stronger effect – and the builders noticed it. The public was more uptight, probably too worried to think about buying a new house,” he said. “This year, the tone is completely different,” he said, adding that most of the “upper end” or million dollar-plus homes have seen as many as 1,300 visitors on the weekends, while more moderately priced models in communities like Wolf Ranch, Cordera or Banning Lewis Ranch are drawing 300 to 600 visitors during the weekend and 200 to 300 during the week.

This year’s featured homes range in price from the $200s to $3.9 million, Standley said, adding that four of the event’s seven million dollar-plus homes are pre-sold this year.

“What you’re hearing from the builders is that more people are engaged, asking questions. They’re really shopping and some will end up buying. A lot of people are also interested in seeing what the newest communities have to offer. The big difference is that more are looking to actually do something.”

Attendance so far stands at about 15,000, but is likely to swell to more than 20,000 as the Parade enters its final weekend. For directions and ticket information on this year’s 29 entries, visit www.cshba.com.  Tickets are available at area Safeway stores, and all homes will be open until 7 p.m. on Sunday, August 23.