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Builders, Realtors ready for Parade of Homes
W BIZ SWEET BRIAR 01
Jack Conner of Coldwell-Banker Tanner Realty is shown at the Sweet Briar development off Maria Sorrell Road. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
     This year's Parade of Homes and Home Show sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Statesboro is set for this weekend with 11 homes on display and over 30 vendors scheduled for the home show.
      The association's president Jamey Cartee hopes this year's event will bring people out to see what is going on with local residential construction.
      "I have said for the last several months that right now is a great time to build and a great time to buy a home," Cartee said. "Materials, labor costs, and mortgage rates are as low as they have been in the last several years, and there is an abundance of expertise out there to draw from."
      According to Bill Moore, chairman of the event, homes on the tour will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and from noon until 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.
      "In addition to homes that will be on display, we will also have a home show from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday at the Homebuilders Association headquarters in the Market District on Fair Road," Moore said. "The vendors will include contractors, builders, material suppliers, pest control, and real estate agents among others. Also, Georgia Southern and Ogeechee Tech will have representatives available to discuss the construction programs/degrees that each school has to offer."
      Local builder Keely Fennell noted that there has been a fundamental change in the housing market over the last several months which and that has had an effect on this year's parade.
      "You simply don't have the number of 'spec' homes on the market that you had 12 to 24 months ago," Fennell said. "Builders aren't going out there and building a lot of homes hoping that someone will come around and buy them. We do continue to have a steady 'spec' home market in that they are still being built, just not in the record numbers that we have had in the last several years.   Therefore, we don't have quite has many homes on this year's parade as we have had in the past."
Fennell's company NeSmith Construction has two homes on display this year, both in the company's Sweet Briar subdivision fronting Maria Sorrell road.
      "Even if you aren't interested in buying a home right now, you should come out and see what is being built in Bulloch County," Fennell said. "It's fun to look around at the different subdivisions. Something might catch your eye, you never know."
      Local realtor Jack Conner is the listing agent for NeSmith's Sweet Briar homes. Conner also urged local residents to come out.
      "Let's say you are not in the market to buy a home, but are thinking about remodeling or something of that sort," Conner said. "What better way to see the quality of a builder's work than to go into something that they just built. It is an excellent way to meet a builder or materials supplier - even a real estate agent. They are there to answer your questions."
      Conner said the local real estate market has remained steady even through the slow down.
      "We may not be selling as many, but we are still selling homes," he said. "Our market has remained consistent. We still have great builders operating here that put out a quality product. Now is a great time to see what is available."
      This year will be the first time that a home outside of Bulloch County is on the parade. "Faith Homes in Metter is displaying one of their homes," Moore said. "We are very excited to have them join the other participants."
      Parade books have been placed in local banks, real estate offices, building supply stores, the offices of the Statesboro Herald, and the Home Builders association headquarters. Also, information about the parade can be accessed on the Statesboro Herald website by clicking on the special sections icon and then the Parade of Homes 2009 icon.
      "At the home show, you will be able to register to win a 40 inch flat screen HD LCD television, as well four $100 cash prices," Moore said. "You do not have to present to win. We hope to see you there."