Building Business

Building Business



Elon Musk, the founder of PayPal, the SpaceX project, and the promising new Tesla Motor Company, is the kind of entrepreneur you want to have in your neighborhood. He is the Bill Gates of his generation, creating good, high-paying jobs that will likely last for years. 

Not so long ago basements were merely utility space, but those days are gone. Two projects presented in the September edition of Custom Builder include basements that figure prominently in their respective plans.

In the fall of 1998, I attended my first Benchmark Conference as a new senior editor on Professional Builder magazine. What struck me about the gathering was the camaraderie among industry competitors.

Remodeling and custom home building are similar in that both are ‘high touch’ relationships. Not to say that production home building is not high touch; but there is a gap.

I had the distinct pleasure of attending the first Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC) ever held in San Diego. Previously, it had been staged in San Francisco for more than 50 years.

I recently re-read Moby Dick and have to say that I was stunned by how vivid and modern it seemed. I felt transported to the streets of New Bedford, Mass., in the 1820s and to the decks of the whaling vessel Pequod.

My eight-year-old son was asked recently about what I do. After describing my activities, typing on the computer and talking on the phone, he finally told his classmate, “He’s a magazine guy.” I find this amusing because I don’t think of myself as just a magazine guy.

Very few industry trade shows exude a raw enthusiasm and excitement like the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show. Last month in New Orleans, the lift in the overall residential construction market was quite palpable.

Six months ago we asked Bob Toll, the executive chairman of Toll Brothers, how he saw the market recovery playing out. Back then the home building market was clearly improving, but the extent and path of the recovery were hazy.

Recent house-price gains and a shrinking backlog of homes for sale suggest that we are at the front end of a seller’s market. This new reality is as much a surprise as was the unexpectedly strong rise in new-home sales during 2012. 

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