BUILDING SOMETHING: Roseann Dugan, Century 21 Rondeau Associates sales associate, talks with Roger Caberal of Acushnet at a Home Construction Expo organized by Bristol County Savings Bank. About 45 attendees came to the first of two expos held in early March.
PBN PHOTO/MARTIN GAVIN
By Rebecca Keister PBN Staff Writer
Bill Bachant, owner of Bill Bachant Builders, recently took some time out of his weekend to meet with potential clients.
The meet-and-greets yielded, he said, one solid appointment and the expectation of several follow-up phone calls from people interested in new-home construction.
Best of all, he got to hold all the meetings in one location, at the Bristol County Savings Bank’s Home Construction Expo, a new offering from the bank meant to get ahead in the game of capturing what Nelson Braga, senior vice president of residential lending, said is a re-emerging market.
“We’re trying to think outside the box. Everybody does the traditional seminars,” Braga said. “We thought we had to jazz it up a little this time. On a small, regional basis, I haven’t seen any [other banks] do a construction-specific expo.”
About 45 attendees came to the first of two expos held in early March, at White’s of Westport in Westport and at The Chateau in Norton.
There were about 20 vendors scheduled to participate, including builders, architects, remodeling-related business and real estate agents.
The expos were held free of charge and included educational sessions.
“I think there’s been pent-up demand. Housing was sort of sagging and I think the job market has started to stabilize,” Braga said. “The rates are low and that’s beneficial to consumers. The cost of materials is lower than it was. If you’re going to do new construction, now is the time to get out there and build.”
Braga said the bank has been doing more new-home construction loans than it has in quite some time, but did not have exact numbers available.
Many in new-home construction business are encouraged by the fact that there was close to a 19 percent increase in single-family building permits issued in Rhode Island from 2011 to 2012. There were 682 such permits issued last year, up from 575 the year before.