Housing show gets under way in Oxford

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NORWAY — Don’t be afraid to buy a modular home.

The message was loud and clear from a wide faction of modular home businesspeople at Thursday’s Housing Capital of New England Spring Home Show press conference that kicked off the ninth annual show, which begins Friday and runs through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Despite a challenging economy, there has never been a better time to build a home,” John Williams, executive director of the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce, declared to several dozen people, many involved in the modular home business, including builders and bankers. Also on hand were representatives of Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and Rep. Mike Michaud’s office and state Rep. Terry Hayes and others.

This is the ninth year seven manufactured housing competitors have combined to host the spring home show.

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Scott Stone, co-owner of Schiavi Home Builders in Oxford, said the group of seven competitors came together as the Housing Capital of New England to promote the show and the fact that buying a modular home now is a good decision. Stone said the group wanted the message to be clear.

“That message is now is the best time to buy a new home,” he said.

Dianne D. Beaton, owner of 2DiFore Marketing Solutions of New Hampshire, told the group that although the housing industry has taken a hit, “we’re on the road to recovery.”

Beaton cited a number of figures to support her message, including a 73 percent jump in house sales in Maine from this year from last.

Additionally, Beaton said home buyers are taking advantage of the government’s first-time home buyer tax credit, which is available until April 30, and purchasing  modular homes that are being built in top-notch fashion with “green” benefits, such as energy-saving features and easy remodeling benefits for those who want to expand older modular homes.

Darci Hamm, senior vice president at Norway Savings Bank, said many people from builders to furniture salesmen depend on the modular home business. With today’s record low mortgage rates , people are becoming more confident in buying new homes, she said.

By spring of this year alone, Norway Savings Bank expects to do more than $3 million in manufactured home lending, according to Hamm.

Dave Roberts, a Portland resident who bought a small colonial modular home from Schiavi Home Builders last fall, said he was very pleased with the whole process, particularly the quickness of the build and the quality of the product.

“I would do it again,” he told the Sun Journal after the press conference.

The show features seven manufactured home business along Routes 121 in Mechanic Falls and Oxford and down Route 26 in Oxford and Paris. The seven participating businesses are Coastline Homes on Route 26 in Paris; Twin Town Homes, Schiavi Home Builders, Turn Key Homes and Alternative Modular Homes, all along Route 26 in Oxford; Keiser Homes on Route 121 in Oxford; and Design First Homes on Route 121 in Mechanic Falls.

Visitors to the home show will be able to view new model manufactured homes, tour factories and even attend a seminar focused on sustainable building and renewable energy. The green seminar will be held at Keiser Homes on Saturday at the 56 Mechanic Falls Road headquarters beginning at 9 a.m., preceded by a one-hour factory tour beginning at 8 a.m.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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