Parade of Homes focus: Luxury, green

Homebuilders will feature high-end designs, eco-friendly trends

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter



If you go

What: The 2012 Northwest Natural Parade of Homes, a tour of model houses in two Clark County locations that will feature the latest luxuries and innovative trends in home construction. Who: Building Industry Association of Clark County.

Breaking ground: 10 a.m. Thursday. When: September 2012. Where: Evergreen Pointe subdivision southwest of Southeast Evergreen Highway and Lieser Point Road, and a yet-to-be-announced Felida location. Information:Building Industry Association of Clark County.


Homebuilders will showcase two concepts at this year’s 2012 Parade of Homes, a September showcase of spacious models overlooking the Columbia River and smaller abodes built with eco-friendly practices. They’ll break ground Thursday on the first of those concepts.

“We really have two different audiences” in the market for houses, said Jim Beriault, a promoter of the annual event, organized by the 800-member Building Industry Association of Clark County.

The spectrum of potential buyers includes those seeking homes at the top end of the market and house shoppers who want a smaller footprint that incorporates sustainable materials and energy savings, Beriault said. He characterized high-end buyers as those showing clear interest in luxurious features. The eco-friendly shopper, meanwhile, wants innovation at an “obtainable” price.

“It’s an emerging audience that wants to see the other side of the fence,” Beriault said.

He said the local BIA chapter has not yet filled its roster of Parade of Homes builders. At least one company, Vancouver-based Tamarack Homes, has thrown its hat in the ring. Others are expected to announce plans within the next week or two.

The site has been selected for the high-end homes, six or seven models in all, to be developed on about 3.5 acres perched above the Columbia River on the south side of Southeast Evergreen Highway and west of Southeast Lieser Point Road. Called Evergreen Pointe, the Vancouver subdivision includes seven lots ranging from 0.5 acre to 1.5 acres in size that were sold for $825,000 apiece in November. By contrast, the same lots were selling for $1.1 million each in 2005, 25 percent higher, during the height of the homebuilding and real estate boom.

Beriault said the price difference gives Parade of Homes builders an opportunity to showcase their houses in the best light. He said the waterfront site would have been out of reach in the recent past.

“We’re excited that we can have a first-class Parade in an incredibly desired location,” he said.

Beriault expects the river-front site will feature houses built by at least four local companies, with at least two of those firms building two houses apiece.

He said all of the houses will be pre-sold before the show, as homebuilders continue to shy away from the risk of building houses “on spec” during the still somewhat stagnant market for new homes. Spec, or speculative, houses are constructed by a builder with the belief that a buyer will eventually come along.

Pre-selling the houses “is really the only way you can make it work these days,” Beriault said.

He said builders had not yet announced an exact location for the Parade of Homes showcase of smaller, eco-friendly houses. However, Beriault said the development in the Felida area would feature a host of new building techniques, starting with the site’s preparation.

“The way they’re prepping the land and infusing the techniques into the building is pretty progressive,” he said.

Homes at the second Parade site will vary in size from 1,800 to 2,000 square feet. Houses at the Evergreen Pointe site are expected to range from 4,000 to 7,000 square feet.

Builders have not yet released floor plans and prices for the Parade of Homes models.