As of June 19, Florida custom home builder Chuck Fowke has taken the reins as chairman of the board of the National Association of Home Builders. The first vice chairman stepped into the role after Dean Mon resigned, citing personal reasons for being unable to complete the remainder of this term. Even as the nation grapples with the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fowke plans to continue the association’s emphasis on improving housing affordability.
“We strive to meet the housing needs of families across the economic spectrum,” Fowke says. “NAHB will work with Congress, the White House, and federal agencies to reduce regulatory barriers and increase housing production. And we will support our state and local association partners as they address NIMBY attitudes and outdated zoning policies that needlessly drive up the cost of housing.”
Workforce development is another issue on Fowke’s agenda. “Now more than ever, I encourage young people to consider a career in the construction trades,” he says. “With the training they can obtain through organizations like the Home Builders Institute, they will be highly sought after—without the burden of student loan debt.”
Fowke has served on the NAHB’s board of directors for more than 20 years. He has also served as president of the Tampa Bay Builders Association (TBBA) and the Florida Home Builders Association (FHBA). The TBBA has twice named him Builder of the Year, and in 2019 the FHBA inducted him into the Florida Housing Hall of Fame.
Before he began his home building career, Fowke played shortstop in the Texas Rangers’ minor league system.
New Single-Family Home Inventory
There are currently just 76,000 new homes completed and ready to occupy nationwide, according to the U.S. Census Bureau (see orange line in chart, below)—a slight dip from the previous month, but otherwise consistent since the beginning of the year.
However, through May 2020—the latest data available at press time—there was an increase in homes sold that had not begun construction (light blue line, below), rising 29% year over year to a total of 71,000.
For the second month in a row, homes available for sale that were currently under construction (dark blue line, below) declined 15% year over year to 171,000 units, likely indicating the impact of stay-at-home orders that slowed housing production in March and April due to the COVID-19 health crisis.
Meanwhile, despite double-digit unemployment nationwide, new-home sales are estimated to be 1.9% higher through May compared with the first five months of 2019—metrics consistent with NAHB’s forecast that housing will be a leading sector in an emerging economic recovery.
Access a PDF of this article in Pro Builder's July/August 2020 digital edition