Friday, July 31, 2009

Looking Out My Backdoor

Darker than usual. That was the best way to describe the flowers I watered early this morning. It was earlier than usual when I turned on the hose and adjusted the nozzle to the “shower” setting. Sipping my coffee, I watched the hues of the eastern horizon slowly scroll through the color wheel from blue black to ultramarine and finally to streaks of cadmium orange and yellow just before the Venetian red and gold sun crested over the rooftops of the neighborhood across the street. Coffee tastes best in my backyard bistro.

The four empty lots next to ours lay freshly mowed and new footings stood tall on the fourth lot over. It won’t be long before the framers show up and erect the skeleton of a new home. By Christmas, there will be another newly completed home on our street.

It was light enough now to clearly see where to step so I grab the doggie shovel and start picking up after the dogs. My dogs are prolific. I’m glad the lot to the north is still empty. A quick flip of the shovel over the fence top and….

I was amazed at just how much our neighborhood had grown in the past two years. Immediately following our move in June 2007, the housing bubble popped and builders everywhere slammed on the brakes.

During the interim completed housing inventory has been sold and new homes are beginning to show up in neighborhoods everywhere. The number of new homes is more modest and less speculative than in years past. But at least there are clear signs that our local housing market is on the mend.

We were the fourth family to move into our subdivision and just the other evening we had a “block party” where 75 adults and children showed up. I used to be able to see the houses three streets over. Now when I look that direction, I see the front door of Dan and Aly’s home.

For many months our subdivision was quiet and our streets were clean. Now it’s not unusual for the streets to be caked with dried mud from the tires of delivery tucks and workers. When I come home for lunch radios blast mariachi music and quite often I’m forced to take an alternate street because ours is blocked by flatbeds dropping off piles of lumber and stacks of shingles.

It’s a good feeling to drive into the place where we have invested thousands of dollars and see that other families also believe that this will be a good place to settle in and raise a family. There’s landscaping in most of the yards; spots of color, young trees still staked to the ground, pots of plants and sprinkler systems to keep it all watered.

Every evening now there are couples who walk their dogs and children who ride their bikes. When we first started walking the streets of Silverhawk, it was a challenge just keeping the dogs out of the empty lots and sticker patches. Empty lots have now been filled with houses, and stickers have been replaced by thick stretches of fescue and Bermuda. We no longer pick stickers out of paws, but we do carry little blue bags to pick up the canine left-behinds.

The general feeling is that things are improving. Slowly but surely new homes are being started. There’s more traffic flowing through the model homes. They sit on our street and some weekends it’s tough to drive between the cars parked on both sides of the street. We see young couples with kids, older couples with no kids taking the tour. SUV’s and sub-compacts, Ford, Mazda, SAAB, Mercedes, sit in the driveways of homes already owned.

Similar scenes are being relived in new subdivisions throughout our area. The builders I talk with are encouraged and excited that they can once again do what they do best, build. And I’m glad too. I hope they keep on building and that homes continue to sell. I just hope they don’t start a new home on the lot to my north anytime soon. Otherwise, I’ll have no place to toss my doggie droppings.

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