Homearama to feature more affordable housing

Homearama is back, only smaller. McMansions are out and more practical, affordable housing is in.

The luxury home show begins Friday and continues through Sept. 30 at the development Sugar Camp — Pointe Oakwood off Far Hills Avenue. More than 5,000 people are expected to attend, according to the show’s organizer, the Home Builders Association of Dayton.

The last Dayton-area Homearama was held in 2008.

The show, once an annual event, connects local builders with potential customers and shows off the builders’ skills with the latest home design and construction features. Computer-controlled shower settings, tray ceilings and all-custom trim are items builders used for the show that people can include in their new homes or remodeling projects.

“I think the thing about Homearama this year is I think it reflects a lot of the trend to smaller homes, not a lot of the homes with the bigger basements, full wet bars and swimming pools in the backyard,” said Adam Zengel, a local home builder and president of the builders association. “It also reflects a little bit of a different product. The homes there in Oakwood are geared more toward empty-nesters.”

The last time the show was held in Clearcreek Twp., approximately 12,000 people attended, said Walt Hibner, executive director of the builders association.

After 2008, an unprecedented housing crisis struck Dayton and the nation, with area homebuilders being hit especially hard. Construction fell from more than 5,000 houses, apartments and condominiums in 2004 to about 1,500 new residences in 2010, according to building permit information compiled by the builders group.

The fact Homearama is being held again is a sign of how the market has improved. More building permits have been issued so far this year than last year. But the show’s smaller scale also signals that things aren’t back to where they were and customer demands have changed.

“What they’re building in here fits the market much better,” Hibner said.

Two builders, M/M Construction and South Dayton Builders, hope to gain extra exposure for their businesses by participating in the show for the first time. The show’s third builder is R.A. Rhoads Inc. Custom Homes.

Brookville-based M/M Construction Inc. built two houses that face Far Hills Avenue.

Jeff Miller’s father Mike started M/M in 1982. The business had never been out of work, steadily building two or three houses a year and doing roofing and foundation jobs, said Miller, vice president of the company.

Jeff’s father never advertised, relying instead on referrals, he said.

Big companies such as Ryan Homes build the most houses in the Dayton area. Most local builders are companies like Miller’s that are family-owned, multigenerational operations, Miller and Hibner said.

“Being part of Homearama … we are getting phone calls,” Miller said. “It probably came at a right time for our company because I do think I want to grow.”

South Dayton Builders & Remodelers of Centerville built the show’s largest home at more than 5,000 square feet.

“Just getting the exposure is a huge thing,” said Dennis Mattingly, project manager of South Dayton.

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