Don't Rain on My Parade

By Robert Plunket February 25, 2009

A scaled-back Parade of Homes still offers some intriguing possibilities.

By Robert Plunket

Click here to see our Real Estate Junkie discuss the Parade of Homes on TV.

This year’s Parade of Homes, wherein the area’s builders showcase their new models for a three-week period, has been scaled back by the economy—down to 56 houses and condos from the usual field of 150 or so. And the homes really aren’t all that new—they are mostly things that haven’t sold yet. I was amazed at how many of them we’ve already looked at here on Real Estate Junkie.



Still, it’s a great opportunity to study the latest trends and, even better, get behind the gates of the fancy communities and check out the lifestyles of people who can afford $5 million homes. Or, in the case of the Royal Melbourne model at The Concession, $8.4 million homes. It’s got over 11,000 square feet, a 4.5 car garage, and a room for every possible purpose—wine, media, massage, games, etc., etc.




This year, though, the most interest is focused on the less expensive entries. Check out the Rose Cottage at River Sound in Manatee County. It may be Florida’s cutest little cottage—1,200 square feet, two bedrooms, two baths, and great design touches. It’s priced at under $150,000 and is one of the few new homes that can be classified as a bona fide hit—the place has just opened and so far they’ve sold 13. Call (941) 746-4992.




I kept scanning the list for something a little different—to be perfectly honest, most of the homes are versions of things that have been around for years—but I did find one condo, well-priced, with a great location, that really spoke to me. It’s the Davenport model at Savannah Preserve. The big plus here is the floor plan—roomy and well-laid out, with traffic flow like a house instead of the dreaded shoe box shape that most condos in this price range have (it starts at $255,000.) And the den has a window!






Other things I liked about the Davenport: All the upgrades—granite, stainless steel, maple, crown molding—are included; very high ceilings in the living room, a great laundry room (also with a window), a fancy deluxe master bath with a walk-in shower, great closets, a big work station in the kitchen, a real garage that enters directly into the apartment, and an upscale atmosphere that’s classic and even distinguished. The location is perfection—adjacent to University Park, right near the new Neiman Marcus, and best of all—within walking distance of 16 different restaurants! Call (941) 360-3838.


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