For the last 30-plus years, thousands of people have traveled to Washington County to take in the latest in homebuilding and home decoration trends at the annual St. George Area Parade of Homes.
“The focus is to spotlight the housing industry and to show the newest innovation, technology and home design,” said Mari Krashowetz, the executive officer of the Southern Utah Home Builders Association (SUHBA).
SUHBA has organized the parade for the last 31 years, and the always-popular event has only grown in recent years, selling around 40,000 tickets to people this year, according to Erik Sorenson, a member of the parade committee who focuses on marketing for the event. He said he estimates about two-thirds of parade-goers visit either from out-of-state or northern Utah.
Those visitors see new innovations in home construction, including all the latest technology, all the greatest in appliances and new building materials and all the newest in kitchen and bathroom designs.
All that luxury comes with a cost though, and the list prices for the 29 houses featured for the 2022 parade are higher than ever, mirroring the way the local housing market has accelerated in recent years.
The most expensive home in this year’s parade is listed for $6 million, with a townhome listed at $489,900 ranking as the least expensive. Look back a decade, and the difference is striking. During the 2012 Parade of Homes, the most expensive home was listed for around $1.87 million and the least expensive was listed for roughly $270,000.
The average listing price for a parade home has jumped 268% in that time, from $568,200 in 2012 to $2.09 million this year. Ten years ago, the parade featured 28 homes and only three were listed for over $1 million, with 15 priced at less than $489,900, the price tag for this year’s least-expensive townhome. Of the 29 homes featured this year, only five are listed at less than $1 million.
The price of a parade home isn’t necessarily the best indicator of the overall real estate market, Sorenson said, but it does show the increased interest in higher-tier housing options.
“That doesn’t mean every home is expensive in St. George. It simply means that there are certain people that want to buy and build a $6 million home,” he said. “Most people obviously don’t.”
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Still, the higher parade home prices seem to reflect what is happening in the rest of the market. And based on the current real estate trends, multi-million dollar homes could pop up around St. George in greater numbers in the very near future.
Sorenson said that as the real estate market increases in price so does the price of homes featured in the parade and that the steep increases in prices have happened in the last two years since the pandemic started. The area saw a jump in demand for housing since the start of the pandemic as people became more willing to make all-cash offers and areas with easy access to the outdoors became popular destinations.
The personal real estate market has risen steadily over the past decade, with the curve turning upward even quicker in recent years. At the start of 2012, the median sales price for a home in Washington County was $149,900. By the end of 2021, the price rose to $500,000, according to reports from the Utah Association of Realtors.
In the same time period, the median home sales price in neighboring Iron County jumped 434.4% from $72,500 at the start of 2012 to $387,500 at the end of 2021.
Sorenson says he expects the market for high-price luxury homes to expand in the future since home builders are seeing a demand for these homes. But he noted that many people who tour homes in the parade aren’t looking to purchase those homes but rather they are looking at homes for fun or to get ideas on their own home construction projects.
“They’re there for ideas, or for the experience, or to look at maybe what they can do in their own home or potentially buy a home in St. George in the future,” he said.
The 2022 St. George Area Parade of Homes continues through Feb. 27. For tickets and more information, visit www.paradehomes.com.
Spectrum Reporter Elle Cabrera contributed reporting to this story
Sean Hemmersmeier covers local government, growth and development in Southwestern Utah. Follow on Twitter @seanhemmers34. Our work depends on subscribers so if you want more coverage on these issues you can subscribe here: http://www.thespectrum.com/subscribe.
This article originally appeared on St. George Spectrum & Daily News: St. George Parade of Homes a sign of area’s booming real estate market