Seventy-five years may be a mere blip in terms of world history, but in homebuilding years, it is a long time. While the homebuilding industry has undergone significant changes in the last seven-and-a-half decades, in the past 10 to 20 years we have been witness to major industry disruptors. We sat down with the Home Builder Association of Metro Denver’s (HBA) CEO & Executive Vice President Jeffrey Whiton to reflect on some of the major achievements the association has been a part of in recent years.
In the past 75 years, the HBA has weathered its share of up and down markets. When the bubble burst, triggering the 2008 recession, the housing market took a hit; and the Denver market was no exception. As Whiton explains, “We may not have been hit as badly as Las Vegas or Phoenix, but about 75 percent of our members went out of business. For many businesses, it was a matter of figuring out creative ways to survive.”
The HBA remained the glue that held the industry together during the economic downturn. Now 10 years after the recession began, the housing market in Denver is among the hottest in the country.
WOMEN IN THE INDUSTRY
Not long ago, few women worked in the homebuilding industry in jobs other than administrative. As Whiton points out, it is only recently that women have assumed leadership positions. “For years, this has been a male-dominant industry, but that is changing rapidly,” says Whiton. “Today there are more women in key roles with home builders and the trades associated with our industry. In fact, it was as recent as 2015 when the HBA welcomed its first female president, Christina Presley.”
To meet these changing needs, the HBA chartered the Professional Women in Building Council to promote, enhance and support homebuilding and women within the industry.
One of the most important roles the HBA plays is advocating for good business practices. According to Whiton, advocacy has been the overarching glue that holds all the people in the industry together under the umbrella of the HBA. “We have worked hard on behalf of our members to establish and maintain relationships with local politicians and community leaders,” says Whiton. “Just the fact that our organization is out there working on behalf of our members is a huge benefit of membership. We have a reputation of being a strong political force locally with city councils and the state legislation. We have earned our seat at the table, and that allows us to speak for our members and express their concerns.”
An example of how the HBA has worked on behalf of its members centers around construction defects reform. As Whiton says, the HBA was able to get 18 cities in the Denver Metro area to pass some kind of construction defect reform. This put pressure on our state legislature to pass HB 1279, which affects the way Colorado homeowners associations may bring construction defect claims and makes it more difficult for “ambulance chasers.”
Over the years, the HBA has remained relevant, finding meaningful ways to add value for its members. To ensure builders and vendor partners are current on industry matters, the organization introduced the Metro Denver HBA University. The HBA also offers a variety of workshops and programs to help its members stay on top of industry trends and challenges.
PARADE OF HOMES
Not all of the HBA’s work deals with policies or up and down economies. The HBA and its members are actively involved in community causes or events. Of the many charities and community events in which the HBA participates, the annual Parade of Homes may have the greatest visibility in the community. The Denver Parade of Homes has developed the reputation as Denver’s go-to, local home show and design houses tour, featuring the best showcase of new homes and communities throughout Metro Denver.
The Parade of Homes, which runs Thursdays through Sundays from August 9 through 26, 2018, features a variety of the Denver Metro area’s most sought-after properties and styles, ranging from condominiums and town homes to luxury show homes and large custom homes. “The Parade of Homes is a great show of what our members do,” says Whiton. “It also shows the public what the finished product looks like. Each of the homes has its own style, so anyone looking for inspiration from the interior design or landscaping will not be disappointed.”
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Looking towards the future, Whiton believes the housing market in Metro Denver will remain hot. He believes more home builders will consolidate, leaving mostly large enterprises building homes around the U.S. However, Whiton also believes those who possess true entrepreneurial spirit will have the stamina and patience to remain in the homebuilding industry.
The industry will continue to evolve over the next 75 years, rather than getting lost in never-ending change. Whiton suggests people embrace it by stay- ing on top of what is going on locally and nationally. “Be aware of what’s going on,” says Whiton. “I’m not talking just about politics, but in general. Understand what is happening in your own community or within the city or county where you live.”
And for those who aren’t quite sure where to begin learning about the industry, the HBA offers the educational resources, support and networking opportunities its members require to make connections, expand their knowledge and take the necessary steps to best meet the housing needs of the entire community.
You can enjoy more articles like this in the Parade of Homes Magazine. Click here to view an online version of the publication.