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Citrus home parade rolls out the options

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 10, 2001

What: Citrus Parade of Homes, sponsored by the Citrus County Builders Association. Sixteen new models by 10 builders.

Where: At sites around the county, marked by signs.

When: Today through March 18. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Information: The builders' association, weekdays during business hours, at (352) 746-9028. More to know: The models have been judged and awards will be on display in each house. . . . Pick up copies of a parade tabloid, with maps and descriptions, at banks, hotels, chambers of commerce, and at the models. . . . Citrus is seeing early retirees "a lot more educated" about building products and about the features and amenities they want, said builders association president Chris Ensing of Southern Exposure Construction.

At Bluestone Construction, sales manager Arthur Matthew said that in houses priced from $250,000, "Buyers are probably looking at $100,000 in upgrades": large pool, spa, central vacuum, entertainment system. "They really jazz the house up."

The laid-back lifestyle, fresh water, rolling hills and lack of congestion attract buyers from other parts of Florida, said Chuck Sanders of Citrus Hills Construction, which is showing three villas. "Buyers are willing to spend $30,000 more on options than they were just two years ago," he said, including high-speed Internet access, energy-efficient air-conditioning systems and sophisticated sound systems. Retirees see that their adult children are doing well in a good economy, Sanders said, and feel at ease spending some of their children's inheritance and "enjoying their retirement years with a little more quality of life than in the past."

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