Clark County Parade of Homes wows, but fewer visit

Builders note enthusiasm among attendees who toured 4 upscale houses

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter



2012 NW Natural Parade of Homes People’s Choice Awards Dinner

What: Awards to be presented as the result of more than 1,000 votes cast by those attending the event, which featured four custom-built luxury dwellings built by members of the Building Industry Association of Clark County.

When: 5:30 p.m. Oct. 18.

Where: The Heathman Lodge, 7801 N.E. Greenwood Drive, Vancouver.

Tickets: $35 per person.


Clark County's premier show of homes drew a lighter crowd during its three-week run this month.

But visitors this year were very enthusiastic, according to homebuilders who showcased new houses in the 2012 Northwest Natural Parade of Homes, which ran Sept. 7-23 in Vancouver. Near 100-degree temperatures during the show's opening weekend were blamed for the smaller turnout -- about 5,000 people this year, compared with more than 6,000 attendees last year, said Jim Beriault, the show's promoter from Portland-based Beriault Marketing.

"We lost a level of momentum due to the heat," he said.

Nevertheless, Beriault said comments on the four-home show's floor plans and decor ranged from mild interest to delight. The show also included self-guided tours of new and remodeled houses throughout Clark County.

The main four homes of the show, priced from $690,000 to $1.6 million, were built in the Evergreen Pointe neighborhood on the south side of Southeast Evergreen Highway and west of Southeast Lieser Point Road. Three of the homes were pre-sold. Beriault said parade visitors seemed most impressed by features built to accommodate new living trends, such as the large gourmet kitchen in the 6,113-square-foot Georgian. The Colonial-style home was built by Vancouver-based Tamarack Homes.

"People like to entertain in their kitchens," he said.

Other parade entries featured home entertainment spaces as well, including a basement-level wet bar and wine cellar in Northwest Classic Homes' $1 million entry on the self-guided tour.

Also popular among baby boomer buyers -- those born between 1946 and 1964 -- are large master suites on the main floor, said Chris Wall, a partner at Northwest Classic Homes, which also is building more houses in La Center's Foothill Estates.

"We see a fair number of baby boomers," Wall said. He added that his company's focus is custom-built homes starting at $300,000.

He expects his company's participation in the Parade of Homes to generate calls from potential clients over the next few months.

"We had a number of people who returned two or three times," an encouraging sign, Wall said. "Especially when you see them on week one and they come back on week three."