The Outer Banks Parade of Homes is one of those events that seems to combine just about everything. Certainly it’s about the business of building, buying and selling homes–yet it’s way more than that. There is the design, innovation and craftsmanship that goes into the homes; and there is the setting, for the Parade of Homes is very much about a way of life and the beauty of the Outer Banks.

It’s difficult to tell how successful this type of event is until after the fact, although both brokers and contractors felt there was better, and more qualified, interest in homeownership than there has been for several years. It’s difficult to know just what is creating the increased interest in Outer Banks homes, though two thoughts kept reappearing.

There is a general sense that the US economy although not yet healthy, is stable, and there seems to be confidence that investments can be made. Perhaps more importantly, though, banks appear to have eased some of their lending criteria to qualified buyers. Although credit requirements remain high, there can be no doubt that banks are once again writing mortgages.

But that’s the business side of the Parade, and the fact is, many of the homes that were on display are second homes or retirement homes. And that underscores the power of the Outer Banks–people come here because of its beauty and the lifestyle that represents.

The weather cooperated–bright sunshine, temperature in the low to mid 70s and a pleasant breeze off the ocean.

That combination played beautifully into creating a picture perfect afternoon at Inside Outin South Nags Head.

A remarkably well crafted home, it has a light, airy feel and uses space extraordinarily well. What had everyone talking, though, was the third floor. Well, the view from the third floor, actually.

Slider doors open to a panorama of the Atlantic Ocean–a vista of the sea that may be the most powerful and beautiful of any home on the Outer Banks. The open kitchen and living room design take your eyes right to the outdoors and seems to accentuate its beauty.

That type of design imagination was apparent throughout the tour. At the other end of the beach–in CorollaSol Mate, also had a very airy, open feel, although the view of the ocean was not quite as magnificent. Ten bedrooms, gathering areas, living rooms or rec rooms overlooking the ocean–it did not feel cluttered or cramped. Yet the design feature that truly stood out was the 2000 square feet of covered outdoor living space. Tiki bar, outdoor TV, seating area–it made the house feel even more spacious than it’s almost 5000 square feet.

These were by no means the only homes showing this level of innovation and quality, which may be the reason that the Parade of Homes has kept going for 19 years and it looks like the 20th will be coming up next October.

Both Inside Out and Sol Mate are part of the SAGA Construction portfolio of homes.

Photo ©Saga Construction