Eau Claire (WQOW) - The 41st Parade of Homes had the largest listing in seven years, and organizers said it is a sign the home market is bouncing back.
Mitch and Barb Piper of Eau Claire have taken part in the Parade of Homes for almost 20 years. This year, they were digging even deeper into the foundation. They were trying to decide if they will buy, build, or remodel a home. Mitch had hoped they would just remodel their current home near Putnam Heights.
"Seeing space like this just gets your imagination going and makes you maybe think about moving," Mitch said.
The Parade of Homes had 21 houses on the tour this year, the largest number since the housing market dropped in 2008. They hope to have over 5,000 people sign up.
"In the last few years we're starting to see a rebound," Chippewa Valley Home Builders Association Executive Officer Christina Thrun said. "A lot of building is happening again. The housing market is turning around. Houses are selling much faster this year, and a lot of realtors have said this is the best year they've seen in a long time."
Thrun said two-thirds of their 21 featured homes are already sold, including a $380K custom built home in Eau Claire that used re-purposed materials from other buildings.
"I think we've learned we have to be better stewards of materials and so by re-purposing, that means something less in a landfill," Signature Homes General Contractor Linda Machmeier said. "Less materials gone to waste."
The home owners Carol and David Pulcrabek visited Saturdays Parade of Homes to get feedback from the community.
"We snuck in here kind of to hear those comments, hoping people would like it, and it's nice to know that what you did appeals to people besides yourself," David said.
The home included old light fixtures, columns, and parts of Eau Claire's own buildings that were torn down for the Confluence project.
"I know a lot of people were sad to see some of those buildings go," Machmeier said. "I'd like to be the one to tell them that some of these pieces are alive and well, and these beautiful tin ceilings will have a long life here in this home."
Signature Homes said one of the biggest trends they've seen is people downsizing, so they have less space to maintain. The Parade of Homes featured houses from under $250K to over $1 million. The parade goes until June 20. For more information, visit the Chippewa Valley Home Builders Association website.