President’s Message

The 62nd Annual Parade of Homes Offers the Best in New Home Construction and Amenities

Blaine Flynn photo
By Blaine Flynn, HBA President

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Home Builders Association (HBA), it is my pleasure to welcome you to the Parade of Homes. As you can imagine, the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for everyone. We moved the Parade of Homes date to September, and this impacted the number of entries for this year’s Parade of Homes. However, we are very pleased that this community event is taking place, especially since this is our 62ndyear. While touring the Parade of Homes, we ask that you maintain a distance of at least six feet, wear face coverings and clean your hands frequently.

What are we seeing in the housing industry across the nation? According to the National Association of Homes Builders, consumers continue to desire smaller homes, not only in overall square footage, but also the number of features, such as bedrooms and bathrooms. This four-year downward trend has led to the smallest average home size since 2011 at 2,520 square feet — only 20 square feet above the average in 2007, the pre-recession peak. The percentage of homes incorporating four-plus bedrooms, three-plus full bathrooms and three-plus car garages have also dropped to levels not seen since 2012. “This points to an industry trying to meet the demands of the entry-level home buyer,” said Rose Quint, NAHB assistant vice president of survey research. “Builders are struggling to meet these demands, however, because of factors such as restrictive zoning regulations and with the price of a new lot in 2019 averaging $57,000.”

What is interesting is that this coincides with what we are seeing in Northwest Florida. Land prices have skyrocketed, the hidden costs of housing with regulations and fees have made it harder for first-time home buyers to obtain homeownership. This is why the Home Builders Association fights against regulations and fees that add to the cost of housing but does nothing to protect the health, safety and welfare of home buyers.

In terms of cutting-edge technology and features, make sure you see the HBA’s American Dream Home, which is a Pensacola Energy Natural Gas Advantage Elite Home, built by Westerheim Properties, in East Pensacola Heights, off Scenic Highway. This is the first time in many years the Dream Home has been built in the City of Pensacola on an infill lot. The Dream Home’s floor plan is designed with open living areas that are hospitable to indoor and outdoor entertaining. The Dream Home is built on a narrow lot but feels very spacious for its 2,342 square-feet, four bedrooms and 3 bathrooms including a roomy master bath. What’s unique about this home is it’s detached cabana area complete with an outdoor kitchen and half bath. I am very thankful to Thomas Westerheim for building this beautiful home for the HBA. This is the third time Thomas has built the Dream Home and we are certainly appreciative of his efforts. Also, we could not do this project without the help and support of our Dream Home Donors, and our major partner in Pensacola Energy. Pensacola Energy Marketing Manager Jill Grove and her team did a remarkable job. Make sure you view the Dream Home Donors list and if you see something you like in the Dream Home, contact one of the donors. I am sure they can be of service.

If you’re in the market for a new home, the Parade of Homes will afford you the opportunity to see homes of all shapes and sizes complete with valued amenities. I encourage you to visit the 36 homes scattered throughout Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. Special thanks to the home builders who have entered homes into the Parade including Samuel Stevens & Associates, Henry Company Homes, Breland Homes Coastal, Truland Homes, Encore Homes by ParsCo, Celebrity Home Builders Inc., Adams Homes Northwest FL, D.R. Horton, Flynn Built, Timberland Contractors and Acorn Fine Homes.

The Parade of Homes is brought to you by the HBA, Westerheim Properties, Pensacola Energy, Ballinger Publishing, Pensacola Magazine, WEAR TV 3, COX, Cat Country 98.7 FM, News Radio 92.3/AM 1620. This year’s Parade is set for September 12-20, with weekend hours from 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m., and weekdays 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

In closing, there’s never been a better time to buy a home with historically low interest rates. Whether you are a potential home buyer or looking to build a home, the Parade of Homes has something for everyone.