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Parade of Homes

Have it your way

New home options cover the waterfront

IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR inspiration to help design your dream home, you'll find plenty of it during the Fall Parade of Homes.

The latest and greatest style trends, design features, materials and nuts-and-bolts construction methods and innovations are on full display in neighbourhoods throughout Winnipeg and southern Manitoba.

Canada's biggest Parade gives Manitoba Home Builders' Association members a chance to put their best foot forward to show the general public what they can do. Essentially, it's Show & Tell on a grand scale.

And it's a two-way street. When visitors talk about their show homes, builders listen. After homeowners asked for more conveniently located laundry rooms, they moved on up from the basement to the main or second floor. Now utility sinks and countertops have moved up there with them.

Mega-master bedrooms with walk-in closets and private spa bathrooms are pretty much the norm, along with quartz countertops on every conceivable surface. And someone, somewhere must have wished for a microwave oven to be positioned at shin level in a kitchen island — but fortunately that trend is fading away. A far more welcome advancement? The barbecue deck, with snow cover and built-in gas supply. Ditto on walk-in closets in foyers and family-size mudrooms that help keep entryways clutter-free.

Builders are designing homes that reflect changes in buyer demographics as well, installing spice kitchens, separate entrances to basement suites in multi-generational homes, and accessible doorways and wider halls for walker and wheelchair users.

And yes, Virginia, there really is an option for every buyer. Along with mid-range houses for homeowners who are ready to move up, and luxury abodes for homeowners who have already arrived, Parade visitors will find a growing selection of compact single-family homes on smaller lots, side-by-side attached homes and townhomes.

And of course, condos. Big ones, small ones, luxury condos that have the look and feel of an all-inclusive resort, and condos that are stand-alone houses on landscaped country lots.

The City of Winnipeg's impact fee has motivated potential buyers to explore properties of every description beyond city limits, and they're finding rural and semi-rural developments are attractive on several fronts. Land is less expensive and lots are larger, with plenty of elbow room to putter in the yard and ample space for a three-car garage to shelter vehicles, tools and toys. Growing families like the small-town atmosphere of many new developments, and commuters often find that a relatively short drive home via the Perimeter is less stressful than a crosstown trek through rush-hour traffic. There's a lot more to explore during the Fall Parade, with two new communities on the Parade map, in Selkirk and Grande Pointe Meadows, along with a greater profile for show-home entries in Brandon.

Within city limits, new show homes are making their debut in well-established developments like Sage Creek, South Pointe and the Bridgwater neighbourhoods in south Winnipeg; West St. Paul, Aurora at North Point and more in the north; Devonshire Park in Transcona and RidgeWood West in Charleswood. Basically, show homes are everywhere you want to be.

Whether you're looking for a move-in-ready model or seeking ideas for a fully custom home, there's never been a better time to catch the Parade.

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