ST. GEORGE — According to specialists, the housing market is an indicator of how well the economy is doing. The 23rd annual St. George Parade of Homes has shown that the economy is looking up by tying the record for their largest show ever.
The Parade of Homes is featuring 28 homes in their 2013 show, and the crowds have been responding in large numbers. Several home builders wanting to be featured in the show were turned away due to lack of room.
"Things are starting to come back," said President of AJ Construction, Austin Anderson. "Building is starting to pick up in Southern Utah."
From 2000 to 2006, Washington County was one of the fastest-growing areas in the nation. Then when the housing crisis hit, foreclosures skyrocketed. Now, foreclosures are decreasing, and home prices are going up. Statewide, prices rose 3.7 percent in the past 12 months, compared to 1.8 percent nationally.
"We're really excited to see the parade numbers back to where they were a few years ago," Anderson said. "Last year, we did see an increase. The year before we were down quite a bit from previous years. So we're starting to see the excitement come back."
Parades of Homes draws potential home buyers to get ideas, and to meet with builders. The 28 homes in this year's show range in size and style. Prices range between $300,000 and $2.7 million. Crowds get to tour a total of 85,000 square feet of home space.
Construction companies are also excited about the response and renewed interest towards the housing market at the Parade of Homes.
"About four builders wanted to get in, but weren't able to," said Mari Smith, a representative of the Southern Utah Homebuilders Association. "So that's a great sign that the housing market in Southern Utah is coming back."
With interest rates still low, and prices starting to rise, many people are now in the position to buy and builders in the St. George area are responding.
"Our building permits are more than double from the year before, and just by driving around Southern Utah, you can see a lot of home building going on," Smith said.
Of the 28 homes in the show, eight have already sold and the rest are for sale.
The St. George Parade of homes runs through Sunday, Feb. 24th.