Builders choose Erickson Farms for 2014 Parade of Homes




Clark County homebuilders in 2014 will head to a Lakeshore Avenue homestead for the annual event that showcases the best of their industry at a time when home construction is enjoying a strong rebound.

The Building Industry Association of Clark County announced Wednesday its 2014 NW Natural Parade of Homes will take place July 11-27 at Erickson Farms, a housing development in the Felida area on 52 acres that had operated as a working farm and farm store until 2006. The site is the second Felida subdivision in a row chosen for the event, sponsored by Northwest Natural Gas Co. The 2014 show will feature 10 homes in the $700,000 to $1 million range, putting them at the high end of the county’s housing market.

The Felida area appeals to affluent homebuyers for a number of reasons, including its top-notch schools, said Mark Jeffries, who is marketing homes in the Erickson Farms subdivision and coordinating the parade for the BIA.

“Demographically, the per capita income out here is higher than the rest of the county, except for Camas,” he said of Felida.

The most recent sign of housing’s recovery came with an industry report issued Wednesday showing that new-home starts within Vancouver’s urban growth boundary continued to rise through September. Last month, builders were issued 27 permits to construct single-family homes in Vancouver. The figure compared with 11 permits handed out during the same month the previous year.

The rise was expected, given a more confident local building community that has returned to producing some houses “on spec,” which means without having a buyer lined up.

Low mortgage interest rates and affluent baby boom buyers are contributing to the rise in home sales, Jeffries said. About one dozen houses have presold in the first 55-lot phase of Erickson Farms. The homes, priced between $400,000 and $600,000, are being built by three Vancouver builders and one builder from Lake Oswego, Ore.

Jeffries said a second phase of the subdivision with 61 lots will be used for the Parade of Homes. That phase includes larger lots — between 10,000 square feet and 13,000 square feet, approximately 3,000 square feet larger than lots in the community’s first phase.

Four builders are lined up to build models for the Parade of Homes tour. They are JB Homes, Stone Bridge Homes NW, Cascade West Development and Everest Construction.

“We have about eight or 10 other builders interested. We’re going to have a lottery for the lots,” Jeffries explained, in which lots will be assigned based on house plans and price point. “We’ll take the nicest lot and put the nicest home on it.”

Jeffries is developing the former farm site with his brother Pat Jeffries. Like many Clark County residents, the Jeffries brothers spent childhood summers working as farmhands for the husband and wife who previously owned Erickson Farms, Helen and Vinton Erickson. Vinton Erickson died in September at the age of 84.

Mark Jeffries said Vinton Erickson envisioned his land would give way to a high-end housing development when it was no longer farmed.

He retired from farming in 2010.

“This was Vinton’s dream, that we would build upscale housing and an interactive neighborhood,” Jeffries said.

A later phase of the Erickson Farms project calls for about three acres of retail and office space to be called Felida Village at Erickson Farms. Plans for the subdivision also include a community park and a nature trail. Homeowners will belong to a homeowners association with dues that provide front yard maintenance.