Organizers hope Homearama 2018’s debut this coming weekend breathes new life into what has been a downturn so far this year for home construction in Warren County.
Now in its 55th installment, the nation’s oldest luxury home showcase runs from July 21 to Aug. 5 and arrives as home builders in Warren County are seeing 16.1 percent decline in permits for single-family homes in the first five months of 2018.
“Typically, Homearama leads to a spin-off of home sales in both the immediate and surrounding community,” said Dan Dressman, executive director of the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati. “When you get people into those market areas, they go to Homearama and they drive around some of the other communities…”
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Inspired by the show’s focus on everything from outdoor living spaces and entertainment areas to kitchens and bathrooms, Homearama attendees often return home and decide they need to do something about their own home, Dressman said.
“If they’re looking at doing a project, it kind of incentivizes or energizes them to go out and actually do the project they’ve been talking about doing,” he said.
The show takes place at 3284 Columbia Road, Union Twp., at the new Highlands at Heritage Hill development. This year’s Homearama selection spotlights 10 homes constructed by High Pointe Custom Homes (four homes), Justin Doyle Homes (two homes), Frazier Homes, The Leland Group, Sterling Homes and Wieland Builders.
Six of the 10 show homes have been sold and range in price from $1 million to more than $2 million, Dressman said.
“This year’s homes are priced on average about $300,000 more than 2017, primarily due to the larger lots and preferences of the buyers,” he said.
For the first time ever, four of the Homearama homes have been constructed by one builder: High Pointe Custom Homes
“When you talk about four houses, what it is two multi-generational homes, plus an additional home, so in some ways it’s like having five homeowners,” said Mike Williams, High Pointe’s founder and owner and the managing partner of Highland Development Partners, which developed Highland at Heritage Hill.
Williams, who has been involved in home building since 2003, said the ability to built multi-generational homes in the community is “a major point of distinction.” It’s a trend that’s catching on and also something he’s well familiar with. He built one years ago in Lebanon, lives in one now, and is building one in Montgomery.
“When you break down the economics of it and the benefits from a social standpoint and a family standpoint, it’s really something special,” he said.
Highland at Heritage Hill also has the benefit of being located in the Kings School District, one of Ohio’s consistently top-ranked school systems, as well being situated amid large, heavily wooded home sites with roadways designed around the area’s existing mature trees. A setting like that helps make features like community areas with a garden, fishing pond, playground, sports field and wooded hiking trail a natural fit, Williams said.
It also helped ignite demand for the site in a manner that was much quicker than anticipated, he said.
“This was supposed to be a five or six year plan for the 43 sites that were offered and we’re looking at, it’s going to be two years and we’ll be sold out,” he said “That tells us the market really likes what we have.”
Also, Williams said, home builders rarely have sites the size of Highlands at Heritage Hill with central sewer, water, gas and electric service.
It also helps the community is close to Interstate 71, as well as Kings Island, TPC River’s Bend Golf Course, the Little Miami Bike Trail, and Countryside YMCA, the country’s largest YMCA.
“We designed it to have a rural, transitional feel,” Williams said. “You do feel like you’re away a little bit when you’re there, but really, it’s very close to I-71, shopping (and more). There’s just all kind of thing around to do.”
This year’s show will feature 28 street exhibits, Dressman said. It also will spotlight two “tiny homes,” minuscule domiciles built by Warrior Homesteads, a non-profit that supports homeless veterans.
“Much of the increased interest in tiny homes has resulted from TV shows, primarily catering to the millennial generation’s interest in minimalistic living,” he said.