Homearama switch is good for everyone

Published 11:43 pm Friday, December 19, 2008

The Hampton Roads real estate industry apparently finally got word this week of the nation’s housing crisis.

In a surprise announcement, members of the Tidewater Builders Association said they would change course this year, moving the annual Homearama event from its scheduled location in Virginia Beach’s exclusive North Shore community to a somewhat less-exclusive mixed-use development in North Suffolk.

“Exclusive,” in this case, refers to the amount of money one would have to put up to own one of the featured Homearama houses. Homes in the North Shore community range in price from $700,000 to more than $1 million. Homes in Hampton Roads Crossing, the Suffolk community that now will host the event, are expected to sell for around $400,000. Those currently selling in the area are fetching even less princely sums, from just under $200,000 to a little more than $300,000.

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Considering the state of the housing market in Hampton Roads and the nation, changing the venue for the area’s showcase real estate event was a good public relations move and a smart business decision.

The vast majority of Hampton Roads homebuyers could only dream of setting up house in one of the million-dollar mansions under construction in Virginia Beach, and those dreams are even further out of reach with the collapse of the nation’s mortgage-lending sector. Showing potential homebuyers the quality they can expect at attainable price points will be more likely to endear the homebuilders to their potential customers.

The city of Suffolk will come out as a big winner in the deal, as potential homebuyers and browsers, alike, have a chance to see all that the city has to offer. It’s a testament to good planning in the North Suffolk area that the city was ready with a community to host the event. Here’s to hoping that it’s a success.