Parade of Homes sales strong despite economy

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The Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs reported this week that its annual Parade of Homes event drew fewer looky-loos, but that those who did attend were more serious about buying than in years past.

Visitor traffic was down by “a few thousand,” but what has the industry buzzing was that participating builders actually saw an unprecedented number of new sales.

In what has been a tight credit market, builders haven’t been willing or able to fund homes built on speculation. As a result, this year all 23 of the Parade Homes entries were either pre-sold or model homes.

That’s why the seven completely new contracts written during or immediately after the Parade were an especially encouraging sign. And another four or five are in the works, said HBA President Michelle Grove-Reiland.

“We had fewer people turn out, but they were serious,” she said.

“(Builders) Copperleaf and Bella Vista both got contracts out of the Parade — they had homes in Flying Horse. Murphy Homes sold a new home, and Challenger Homes was thrilled with the activity they generated,” said HBA spokesman Kirk Standley.

Standley said even compared to the height of the market in 2005 and 2006, the sales results this year were better. That’s in part because previously builders invested in spec homes they hoped to sell during the Parade, often with disappointing results.

The annual home tour featured model and custom homes throughout El Paso County. The two main sites were Gold Hills Mesa models and Meridian Ranch with three Parade models each. The other 17 homes featured spanned much of El Paso County, from Cathedral Pines and Flying Horse on the north to Lower Gold Camp Road and Crystal Valley Road on the west, to Oakwood Homes’ model off Jimmy Camp Road in Fountain, to a large group of models east of Powers Boulevard off Woodmen Road.

Flying Horse, where most homes are priced are from $400,000 and up, drew almost 10,000 visitors while the Hi Point Homes’ luxury model off US-24 and Ridge Road saw about 7,000. Gold Hills Mesa was also popular with 5,500 individuals or families stopping by.

The highest traffic count measured for a single day was 1,014, for Murphy Custom Homes at Cathedral Pines.

Copperleaf Homes owner Jim Seibel said both of his homes in the Village at Callistoga in Flying Horse and at Broadmoor Bluffs were busy during the Parade, generating 40 or so leads.

“We’ll definitely be back next year. The leads and contracts we get usually keep us busy for the next six to eight months,” he said.

While some owners couldn’t imagine allowing 5,000 to 10,000 people to tour their homes, there are plenty of benefits for those who do.

“A lot of builders will put an average of $50,000 to $60,000 in upgrades and extras into a Parade home,” Standley said.

Grove-Reiland said work is already under way on the next HBA annual events, the Parade of Holiday Homes scheduled for Dec. 3-5 and for next spring’s Home and Garden Show.

Earlier this summer HBA also conducted its third annual Remodeled Home Tour, which included 13 entries that attracted close to 1,000 visitors.

August industrial deals closed

All Coat Finishing, a powder-coating company, has purchased a 34,000-square-foot building on 1.5 acres. The property at 4205 High Country Road sold for $1,070,000 in a short sale.

Peak Commercial Properties broker John Rodgers represented the buyer and Olive Real Estate Group’s Charley Conrad represented the seller, Cobrra LLLP.  Rodgers said the deal was complicated by the need for some environmental remediation and by the distressed nature of the sale. But the deal got done in large part due to the Bank of Colorado’s “proactive” and “realistic” approach, Rodgers said.

In related news, a building at 3260-3270 Astrozon Blvd. has sold to MERJ# LLLP — a local investor — for $1.7 million. Rodgers handled both sides of the transaction, which he described as “a very rare investment sale in today’s commercial real estate sector.”

The 26,500-square-foot building is leased by SRS Acquisition Corp. and sits on five acres of land.

Becky Hurley may be contacted at (719) 329-5235 or email at becky.hurley@csbj.com. Friend her on Facebook.