E. Texas 'Parade of Homes' shows construction industry improvement

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Hundreds of interested home buyers toured nine custom built houses during the Deep East Texas Association of Builders (DETAB) annual Parade of Homes.

Builders say the huge turnout is proof that the housing market is back in business.

Six custom home builders opened the doors to nine of their homes so potential customers looking to buy, build or remodel can see what's out there during the annual DETAB Parade of Homes in Angelina County.

DETAB Board member and owner of Dream Homes and Drafting, Mike Hineman says, "You can see all the builders, all at once, on one day and see a sample of what they're building."

Builders say 2011 was a rough year for the local construction industry but they started to see an improvement in 2012.

According to, Melvin Linton Jr., owner of Melvin Linton Homes LLC & Drafting, "13 has been fantastic for us and the outlook for 14 looks really good. I know personally, I can't say for any of the other builders but I know personally we've got a lot of work lined up already for 2014."

But Hineman says the recession didn't hit Texas or East Texas as hard as other areas across the country.

"We also kind of have still an oil boom or oil draw to the area that has helped us with all the natural gas and everything," said Hineman. "There's plenty of money in East Texas and it makes Lufkin grow."

And while the local construction industry picks back up there will be an increased skilled labor force to pull from, thanks to a local Goodwill program.

YouthBuild of the Pineywoods teaches young adults who may have had some trouble in the past, trade skills for the construction industry.

YouthBuild Construction Manager, Stephen Hammonds says, "The students actually out in the field, part of selling our program or promoting our program, this gives them an opportunity to see what it's actually like out there rather than being in a classroom environment."

The program has created opportunities for students like 24-year-old, Eduardo Gutierrez.

"This time last year, I was doing worse and now I'm in college at Angelina, furthering my construction career which I've already started from YouthBuild," said Gutierrez. "It's turned my life around from not having any goals to having goals and meeting my goals. Everybody makes mistakes in their life but it's never too late to get back on the right track."

The DETAB-YouthBuild partnership ensures that students like Gutierrez make real-world contacts and potentially even future employers.

Many of the builders participating in the Parade of Homes say they will be working with the YouthBuild students in the future.

Linton says he and his son will be mentoring and working one-on-one with some YouthBuild students soon.

Admission to the Parade of Homes was a non-perishable food item to be donated to the local food back or a donation to YouthBuild.

Melvin Linton Homes LLC & Drafting, Petty Construction, NP Enterprises, Dream Homes and Drafting, JTD Construction, Home Design Construction and Daniel Barrera Construction all had homes open for show.

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