Neal companies take most awards at Parade of Homes

mjohnson@bradenton.comMarch 8, 2014 

MANATEE -- If trophies amount to sales, the Neal family of companies should do pretty well in the aftermath of this year's Parade of Homes.

Sixty-four judges looking at the 80 homes on the tour handed six "overall winner" awards to Neal Communities and John Neal Homes for their single- and multi-family entries into the Manatee and Sarasota counties event. Other builders picking up multiple awards included John Cannon Homes, Taylor Morrison and Lee Wetherington Homes.

The Lakewood Ranch-based Neal companies swept several complete categories, winning not only the overall prize, but individual prizes for best curb appeal, best kitchen, best master suite, best floorplan, and best architectural detail.

Awards went to homes in over 45 categories on the three-week tour. The homes were categorized by price, with about a 10 percent differential between most categories. Homes on the tour range in price from $207,000 to $2.9 million.

The Parade of Homes has already generated several sales for participating buildings, said Alan Anderson, executive vice president of the Manatee Sarasota Building Industry Association, the group that organizes the annual Parade of Homes. Builders are reporting seeing more serious shoppers and buyers than in past years.

"The sentiment is that the quality of people coming through represents a higher level of buyer interest than just the curtain tuggers," he said. "But we love curtain tuggers, too."

Tour judges also gave out a number of special category awards. Harbour Isles on Anna Maria Sound, a Minto Communities venture, swept the "Communities with 200

Homesites or Less" category. Lakewood Ranch took home the same award in the over-1,000 homesite category.

Classic Homes by Clayton, a Sarasota builder, was this year's "green" award winner, garnering honors for the environmental friendliness of its 3,300-square-foot Sonoma model home.

In the landscaping awards, Trent Culleny Landscape Contractor of Sarasota won in three of four categories. Coast to Coast Pools won six of 11 awards in the pool category.

Awards were handed out to the winners on March 6 at the Lakewood Ranch Country Club. The tour continues through March 9.

Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027, or on Twitter @MattAtBradenton.

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