Raleigh, N.C. — The Southern Ideal Home Show was held this weekend at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. Organizers of the event said attendance was up 7 percent from last year.
The three-day event featured nearly 400 builders, designers and landscapers looking to attract business during the recession.
“We have lowered our prices to gather more work,” said Peter Uhlik, with Standard Construction and Landscaping.
Uhlik's Raleigh business specializes in outdoor living spaces like patios, pavilions and outdoor kitchens. He said with home sales down, more people are looking to upgrade those areas.
“When other people aren't buying new homes, they tend to make their (home) better,” Uhlik said.
Homeowners attending the event were able to compare and buy the latest building and remodeling products for home and garden.
Jeannette Schuster of Goldsboro went to the home show looking for a hot tub.
“I have a stressful job. So to come home in the evenings, get the kids settled and just be able to relax would be nice,” Schuster said.
The mother of two said she has been planning a hot tub purchase for some time.
"We have got some money set aside," Schuster said.
Rob Lawler, with Choice Pool and Spas in Wake Forest, said hot-tub sales this weekend were nearly double from previous home shows.
“I have seen the mood of people change. Our phones are ringing more. People are spending more,” Lawler said. “I think people are just sick of saving. I mean ... they can't sell their home, so why not improve the home.”
Uhlik said he has also seen an uptick in his outdoor living business.
“This is something they can walk out and use everyday, and enjoy everyday,” Uhlik said.
Dana Steed's was among those shopping for backyard ideas at the home show. With three children and a baby on the way, the Holly Springs family is ready to expand their living space.
“This is something we have been thinking about for about two years, and we have been saving up for it. So timing for us is actually good,” Steed said.
Organizers of the home show said exhibitors reported strong sales this weekend, due in part to some “pent up demand.”