Those close to the housing market say they see the signs of recovery and believe those who attend the annual Home Show at the Convention Center will feel it, too. Hosted by the Rhode Island Builders Association, the show opens today at the Rhode Island Convention Center for a four-day stand.
People are open to spending more money on their homes now, says Louis Cotoia, building materials coordinator for Arnold Lumber, and a member of the board of directors for the Rhode Island Builders Association. Cotoia and others involved with the show visited Harris Blinds & Shutters on Warwick Avenue yesterday to promote the show.
Over the last six to nine months, there has been more consumer confidence. People are not as afraid they are going to walk into work and lose their jobs. They are tired of not spending money and they want to do something for themselves,he said.
Cotoia is not the only one seeing a greater interest from consumers. This is Cynthia Valenti Smiths 16th year participating at the show. Smith, a vice president and mortgage officer of the Washington Trust Company, said, This year Ive seen more loans for major home improvements and the area of new construction loans is busier.
Robert Baldwin of R.B. Homes, Inc. believes the housing market is pulling out of the recession.
He said there are three phases to the boom and bust cycle: need, want and speculation.
If you take the length of every boom, one third of that time equals how long the bust will last, he said.
He said the last boom was roughly 15 years, meaning the bust would last around five years. The housing market downturn started about 2006, meaning, If everything holds true to the formula this year should show an uptake, he said.
He said need starts the return of housing. Families grow bigger, and a small two-bedroom apartment no longer can fit the needs of a growing family. The next step is want, families need a bigger home; they decide that they don't just want a house, but they want the house with the bigger living room instead. Speculation, he said, is the final phase when people looking to make a quick dollar buy properties with the intent of reselling them for a profit.
More than 400 exhibitors will be in attendance to showcase what they have to offer. From Warwick alone, 37 businesses will be at the show, including A-1 Foundation Crack Repair, AT Calderone Bulkhead System, ADT Security Service, Electrolux, Awning Factory, Barrett Hardwood Floors, Certa Pro Painters, Coster St. Germain, Frank Webb Bath Center, Storm Tite Remodeling, Future Floor Finishing, Harris Blinds and Shutters, Independent Lenze Photo, K-9 Fence, Moriarty's Invisible Fence, New England Landscape and Lighting, N.E. Solar Concept, Overhead Garage Door, Petro Heat and Air, R.I. Kitchen and Bath, Slocum Insurance, Sturtevant Illustrations, Sherwin-Williams Paint, The Vacation Center, Vanguard Home Medical, VMS Alarms, Washington Trust, along with many others.
Last year's attendance was roughly 11,000 people; however, this year, 15,000 people are expected to attend over the course of the next four days.
A big draw this year is the house that was built inside the Convention Center on the showroom floor. The 1,200-square foot modular home was brought down from Maine in four pieces, and assembled in a single day. Carol O'Donnell, of Construction & Rehab, Inc. CRM Modular Homes of Johnston, arranged to have the house delivered. The interior design was completed the following day. Show visitors will be able to tour the house with its complete lightning, furniture, a fully landscaped lawn and a car in the driveway; the only thing it does not have is operational plumbing.
In an effort to promote the show and its Warwick vendors,Mayor Scott Avedisian visited Harris Blinds & Shutters yesterday to meet with Harris Alkins, owner of Harris Blinds & Shutters, along with representatives of the Rhode Island Builders Association and Warwick's Department of Tourism, Culture and Development.
Even the kids can be entertained when bicycles are raffled off this weekend. The representatives of the Rhode Island Builders Association agreed that Mother Nature has helped. More people are interested in working on their homes when the weather has been much nicer than it typically is this time of year.
Mayor Avedisian emphasized how important the housing market is to the economy.
Cotoia said, The housing industry drives the economy.
Cotoia has his employees working the show this year surveying what people would like to see next year. He said that the Builders Association is trying to vitalize the state in any way it can. He has high hopes the Home Show can help achieve this goal.