Download a complete list of the East County models here.
EAST COUNTY — The annual Parade of Homes will return to Manatee and Sarasota counties this weekend, offering East County residents and others a glimpse into the trends and styles in the new home market.
More than 50 model homes in the area — of which more than 30 are located in the East County — will be featured in this year’s tour, an annual event hosted by the Home Builders Association Manatee-Sarasota.
“We’ve had an increase in the number of participants, and we’re almost double the number of entries we were last year,” said Alan Anderson, executive vice president of the HBA Manatee-Sarasota. “That’s a very positive sign things are turning around.”
Models will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays, and from noon to 5 p.m., Sundays, from Feb. 19 to March 6.
The Home Builders Association will host a special kickoff event for the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Feb. 19, at the Shoppes at University Center in the parking lot near Total Wines & More.
Lakewood Ranch’s newest community, Central Park, will be making its debut in the parade with seven models featured. Central Park developer Neal Communities will be showing four homes, while Bruce Williams Homes and Cardel Homes, a new builder to Manatee County, will be showing the remaining entries.
“It’s a one time a year event where we show off our new stuff,” Neal Communities President Pat Neal said. “(The parade) let’s people see what’s new. There’s all sorts of things to see, and more to see (there) than anywhere else in the parade.”
Neal also is opening its newest community in Country Club East, Belleisle, this weekend with homes on the golf course starting at $179,000.
“Everything is the same except pricing has reset to a lower level,” Neal said. “We are proud of the houses we’re building. They’re high quality fit and finish, and they’re built under the new economy.”
Neal Communities and its sister entity, Neal Signature Homes, have the most entries of any homebuilder in the parade with more than a dozen models throughout area.
Homebuilders in Southwest Florida, Neal said, typically see half of their home sales for the year in the first four months of the year.
Industry professionals will judge models Feb. 19, and winners will be announced toward the end of the parade, Anderson said. Students in local Future Homebuilders of America chapters also will participate in a mock judging event Feb. 24.
For information about the tour, visit www.paradeofhomesinfo.com. Individuals also can pick up Parade of Homes magazines at the HBA Manatee-Sarasota office, 8131 Lakewood Main Street, Suite 207.
Contact Pam Eubanks at email@example.com.