Crowds of people that moved steadily through immaculate homes Saturday had builders optimistic that a flat real estate market will take an upward turn.
“I’m confident it will be a good market, but you’ve got to be careful what you’re building,” said Tom Messina, one of several builders showing off their work at the annual Parade of Homes.
A market saturated with new and older homes for sale has made it tough on builders the past two years. Since setting a record for sales in 1994, the Kootenai County housing market has cooled considerably.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people who really want to build (new homes) badly, but their houses haven’t sold,” Messina said.
As starter homes languish on the market for a year or more, custom home construction is still a good business to be in, builders said. Many buyers are looking to build larger, more expensive homes and are not satisfied with what’s on the market.
“I’m surprised at the amount of people interested in having something built,” said Bill Koll, owner of Rainbow Mountain Development Inc. “They can’t find what they want.”
Not everyone was house hunting at the Parade of Homes. Most who toured the 17 houses were simply gathering ideas from builders and subcontractors who showed off their work.
“This is a show,” Messina said. “It’s no different than a convention.”
Several curious browsers peaked inside kitchen cabinets, admired elaborate built-in home stereo systems and gawked at fancy master bathrooms. Large laundry rooms and finished garages also did not go unnoticed.
“We built our home two years ago and we’re still finishing little things,” said Paul Binfield of Hayden. “It’s kind of fun to see what other people do.”
Among the gadgetry that caught Binfield’s eye were appliance covers that matched kitchen cabinets. Binfield and his wife, who also attended the street fair and art show in downtown Coeur d’Alene, carried a picture of their fireplace in case they found a nifty idea for the walls surrounding it.
Around the corner in Best Hill Meadows, Don Morgan and his family were shopping well in advance of moving. The family is planning on looking for a new house - in a few years.
Morgan, a Post Falls financial consultant, predicted the real estate market will have improved by then.
“As overbuilt as this market is, it’s a temporary (depressed) condition,” Morgan predicted.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: HOME SHOW The Parade of Homes continues daily through next Sunday. The show is open today from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.