The Builder 100 conference brought together top builders and industry leaders for three thought-provoking days of panels, discussions, awards, and networking.
The annual Builder 100 conference welcomed a full house this year with nearly 400 attendees at the Ritz-Carlton in Dana Point, California. The sold-out event was the largest Builder 100 yet, featuring three packed days filled with 16 sessions, the BUILDER awards ceremony, networking, happy hours, a custom-made sand sculpture, and a rockin’ concert from Orange County’s own Mark McGrath of the 90’s band Sugar Ray.
Builder 100 brings together the top 100 largest home builders in the U.S., as named annually by BUILDER magazine. This year’s conference theme, The Great Reshuffle: Building the Future of Housing, centered around current design, technology, labor, and capital challenges to help inform and inspire the industry to prepare for the future while continuing to trailblaze creative innovations for tomorrow.
Jump to Sessions
Read on to explore the key takeaways from the event, or click on the session titles below to jump to a particular section.
Learn more about upcoming Zonda Events at www.zondahome.com/events, including our free Outlook Webinar series and new Inspirational Leadership podcast series.
“There is not another event in our industry that brings such a high level of leaders and innovators together to share their experiences and knowledge.” —2022 attendee
Economic Outlook for Housing
Ali Wolf, Chief Economist, Zonda
Inflation is up 6-9% year-over-year. It is at the highest level in 40 years. A healthy rate of inflation is 2-3%.
The Fed is incrementally raising mortgage rates to stave-off inflation in hopes of a “soft landing” versus a “hard landing” (i.e., recession.) Monthly payments are up 30% since the beginning of the year due to higher interest rates.
Calling for modest growth across the board, but with caution!
Single-family starts 2-5% in 2022
Sales dependent on supply, sales caps, and affordability
New home sales +1.8% in 2022
The ‘If you build it, they will come’ mentality will run out. Demand won’t always be so high.
Kim Lear, Founder and Content Director, Inlay Insights
As record numbers of Baby Boomers retire, these differing generational paradigms are disrupting workplace norms.
It’s time to challenge conventional thinking and create more empathetic, personal, and customized experiences.
We need to understand each generation and how to communicate with them effectively.
Baby Boomers: population 80 million, born 1946-1964
‘Boomers’ believe in the quintessential American Dream, are brand loyalists, have strained relationships with their parents, and are less likely to communicate their feelings.
Generation X: population 60 million, born 1965-1979
‘Gen Xers’ are the first generation with two working parents, saw the rise of divorce, and Watergate. They are skeptical, entrepreneurial, and independent; most likely to homeschool (for non-religious reasons); are honest, direct, and unfiltered; the sandwich generation (caring for their children and aging parents simultaneously).
Millennials: population 82 million, born 1980-1995
Witnessed widely broadcast violence at a young age from Columbine shootings and 9/11. This caused an influx of school guidance counselors and started mental and emotional health conversations.
Millennials are much closer with their children. They are collaborative, empowered, networked, risk average, and in search of meaning.
Generation Z: population 76 million, born 1996-2010
Gen Z grew up with the backdrop of growing equality. Their parent-child dynamic has continued to draw closer, with 70% of teenagers saying their parents are their best friends.
There are now more women with PHDs than men and more women are high school valedictorians than men.
They grew up with the first Black president, went to grade school during the threat of increased school shootings, and their college experience has been impacted by a global pandemic.
“Each year the content, panels, presentations and guest speakers gets better and better.” — 2022 attendee
Congratulations to this year’s winners of the builder awards!
Builder of the Year
Winner: Landsea Homes
Through consecutive strategic moves in 2021, Landsea Homes, led by CEO John Ho and COO Mike Forsum, experienced a historical year of transformation after going public, exceeding $1 billion in revenue, acquiring Vintage Estate Homes, expanding into the Texas and Florida markets, and completing 1,640 closings. These moves culminated to earn Landsea the 47th spot on the Builder 100 list along with the Builder of the Year title.
Hearthstone BUILDER Humanitarian Award
Winner: Nelson Mitchell, HistoryMaker Homes
Nelson’s company has raised over $14.5 million benefiting children with disabilities, impoverished communities, veterans, and local homeless populations. Two organizations, in particular, have been deeply impacted by Mitchell’s fastidious generosity: Homes for HOPE, an organization that aims to fight global poverty, for whom the builder has constructed two houses; and The Miracle League, which provides children and young adults the opportunity to play baseball regardless of their abilities, including custom fields that accommodate wheelchairs.
The 2022 Hearthstone BUILDER Humanitarian Award is proud to present $300,000 total to Mitchell’s two charities—$150,000 to Homes for HOPE and $150,000 to The Miracle League.
Biggest Mover Top 100
Winner: Holt Homes
Holt Homes, based in Vancouver, Washington, moved up 37 spots and broke into the top 100 at number 85.
Headed by founder and president Greg Kubicek, Holt Homes closed 726 new homes last year—265 more than in 2020—with a revenue of $348 million.
Biggest Mover Next 100
Winner: New Tradition Homes
Serving the Vancouver and Tri-Cities areas, New Tradition Homes jumped 43 spots on the Builder Next 100—from number 190 to 147.
The home builder, led by president Chris Helmes, closed 346 new homes last year—139 more than in 2020—with a revenue of $170 million.
Subdivision of the Future? Mixing it Up with Rental and For Sale
Moderator Tim Sullivan, Senior Managing Principal, Zonda
Brent Landry, EVP, Development, American Homes 4 Rent
Darin Rowe, National President Build-To-Rent, Taylor Morrison
Blair Sweeney, Managing Director, Build to Rent, Landmark Properties, Inc
Be judicious – this space has a strong runway, but it is not for everyone.
New matters – what will you do to maintain the fresh feel of your homes and the community?
Understand the consumer – why are they looking to rent?
Standardize your product – minimize costs while presenting a consistent lifestyle.
Amenity equilibrium – include only what is valued.
Cash flow cyclicality – plan for it! The “easy button” is gone.