Whether you’re looking to build a home, buy a new one, remodel the one you already have, or just do a little real-estate dreaming, the 48th Annual Chippewa Valley Parade of Homes will offer 14 Eau Claire-area dwellings to explore, in person and virtually.
This year’s event, which will be June 11-18, will showcase nine new homes and two remodeled homes, all of which can be visited in person, as well as three virtual tours.
After several years in the shadow of the pandemic, Christina Thrun of the Chippewa Valley Homebuilders Association is hopeful that parade attendance can bounce back toward its typical total of about 5,000. Of course, not all of these parade-goers are looking to buy new houses.
“I know a lot of the people who come through just want to see what the new design trends are,” said Thrun, executive officer of the local homebuilders’ group. They may be looking for new paint colors or interior design ideas, or perhaps for bathroom or kitchen remodeling inspirations. Remodeled homes have been added to the tour in recent years to cater to the latter group, while virtual tours became a necessity when COVID-19 struck in 2020. Both remodels and virtual visits are now permanent parts of the Parade of Homes.
Still, there will plenty of opportunities to stroll through brand-new homes. Most of the homes are in the immediate Eau Claire area, plus a few in outlying locales, including Lake Hallie and rural Strum. Thrun said the homes range in value from $300,000 to more than $1 million.
Many of this year’s homes reflect modern design sensibilities, with a focus on black, white, and gray, including white oak flooring and black-framed windows. Thrun said this is in contrast to the more country-tinged styles that were popular a few years back.
“It seems like in the year that we lost, everything slipped from farmhouse to modern,” she said. While you’ll still see some rustic beams or shiplap walls, they’re more likely to be accents than dominant features in this year’s parade homes.
The 2022 edition of the parade will be somewhat small than in years past, largely because of the impact of nationwide factors in the housing market. In the wake of the pandemic, supply chains are still running behind, making it harder for homebuilders to build and complete houses, Thrun said. There’s also a shortage of the skilled workers needed to build new homes. And a hot housing market means new homes are in demand and are unlikely to sit empty for long.
“We’re so behind on the supply right now that they can’t build them fast enough,” Thrun said association members tell her.
The Parade of Homes begins Saturday, June 11, and runs through Saturday, June 18. Tickets are $8 before June 10 and $10 thereafter, and give ticket holders access to in-person tour homes as well as codes that allow them to view the virtual tours.
Tickets can be purchased online at paradeofhomescv.com or at RCU locations in Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, and Menomonie; at the Chippewa Valley Home Builders Association office (4319 Jeffers Road); or at tour homes themselves.
For more information, including a map, visit paradeofhomescv.com.