flexiblefullpage - default
Currently Reading

Editorial: A Drastically Different Model of Home Building

Advertisement
billboard - default

Editorial: A Drastically Different Model of Home Building

Professional Builder Editorial Director Paul Deffenbaugh tells his colleagues to prepare themselves for a drastically different model of home building once the economy recovers.


By Paul Deffenbaugh, Editorial Director June 30, 2009
This article first appeared in the PB July 2009 issue of Pro Builder.

 

Paul Deffenbaugh
Editorial Director

I don’t know what the future of our industry is going to be, but I do know one thing: it will be substantially different than the current model. Everything from land planning to floor plans to transportation will change.

Perhaps the biggest change that will affect home building is a transfer of generations. For 30 years, the industry has been dominated by baby boomers. They’re rapidly departing their peak earning years, and a new generation — Gen Y, Millenials or whatever we want to call them — is moving in. And it ain’t your father’s generation.

Their desires are going to drive home building for the next 30 years. Will they continue to want houses in the suburbs on ¼-acre lots? Or will the new ideal be a community defined by easy access to restaurants, culture and transportation? Customer demand is going to change, and the key will be keeping on top of those changes. Anticipating them can be risky.

 


The home building industry is going through massive
change, but the future is not
clearly written.

But a new generation isn’t the only area of home building that will significantly change. My belief is that we’re entering an era of scarcity that will force our society to make harder decisions about what we do with our resources. I don’t just mean natural resources. Although scarcity of oil and water are going to be major players in the home building market — after all, we’ve grown our communities in places that demand increased gas consumption (the suburbs) and in environments without large sources of water (Las Vegas, Phoenix) — we’re also facing a scarcity of economic resources. Personal debt has gone through the roof while incomes adjusted for inflation are relatively flat. The rich are getting richer, but the poor and middle class are not improving. It is the middle class, as we know, that drives our industry.

The quintessential home building community over the last two decades has been a single-family, detached project, with plenty of space for amenities, in the South or Southwest. Will the new quintessential community be a mid-rise complex in the Minnesota (“Land of 10,000 Lakes”) that is populated by austere Midwesterners?

The only thing I know for certain is that what we’re doing now won’t work in the future.

paul.deffenbaugh@reedbusiness.com

Advertisement
leaderboard2 - default
Advertisement
boombox1 -
Advertisement
native1 - default
halfpage2 -

More in Category

Home builders can maximize efficiencies gained through simplification and standardization by automating both on-site and back-office operations 

Delaware-based Schell Brothers, our 2023 Builder of the Year, brings a refreshing approach to delivering homes and measuring success with an overriding mission of happiness

NAHB Chairman's Message: In a challenging business environment for home builders, and with higher housing costs for families, the National Association of Home Builders is working to help home builders better meet the nation's housing needs

Advertisement
native2 - default
Advertisement
halfpage1 -

Create an account

By creating an account, you agree to Pro Builder's terms of service and privacy policy.


Daily Feed Newsletter

Get Pro Builder in your inbox

Each day, Pro Builder's editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Save the stories you care about

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet lorem ipsum dolor sit amet lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.

The bookmark icon allows you to save any story to your account to read it later
Tap it once to save, and tap it again to unsave

It looks like you’re using an ad-blocker!

Pro Builder is an advertisting supported site and we noticed you have ad-blocking enabled in your browser. There are two ways you can keep reading:

Disable your ad-blocker
Disable now
Subscribe to Pro Builder
Subscribe
Already a member? Sign in
Become a Member

Subscribe to Pro Builder for unlimited access

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.