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2021 HBA Board President Angela Harris’ State of the Industry & HBA Address

Angela Harris, HBA of Metro Denver's 2021 Board President, shared her thoughts about the State of the Industry and HBA on October 28th, during the Homebuilders Association of Metro Denver's Annual Meeting.

Angela Harris, 2021 HBA Board President

For 78 years, we have come together to celebrate our accomplishments, and acknowledge our challenges.  It is here that the  HBA members sets our agenda, and it’s here, that we channel our collective will to win. This is our Associations strength.  It is also why resiliency, reinvention, and innovation matter, and today, it means more than ever.

The HBA of Metro Denver provides us the opportunity to embrace the universal values we all share as an industry. Our commitment to advocacy, education, and to providing safe, secure communities for those throughout the Denver Metro area, are all the reasons, the driving force, of why we all sit here in these chairs tonight.

With mortgage rates at record lows and a scarcity of inventory that are keeping the US housing market robust, it is safe to say, we are in high demand. While affordability concerns continue to rise, we must remember that low mortgage rates, increased capital in the market, rising savings, and a stronger job market all work together to put homeownership within reach for many prospective buyers.  Today, it is reported that the housing industry contributes 15% to 18% to the health, and vitality, of our overall economy. As we all know, this is a notable contribution, year over year. It is these statistics that are the driving force behind what the HBA of Metro Denver tells our elected officials every day and is the validation of the tremendous amount of hard work, dedication, and commitment we all exude---which, we can all be very proud of.  In 2022 investment bankers are predicting the housing market frenzy, only to intensify, with a lot more room to run.

Despite all the many opportunities, we still have much work to do, and challenges to overcome. Affordability, labor shortages, supply chain issues, and lot shortages just to name a few. But it can’t stop there. With our day-to-day challenges we must also recognize the critical path for our young leaders to be brought up through our industry.  To provide them a safe, secure place---just like our buyers--to be able to grow and thrive with resources for change and innovation to occur within our industry.  At a time when we would like nothing more than to celebrate our increases in sales, we must turn our focus to a longer-term strategy, a longer-term plan. Now, is the time when we cannot lose sight of the very values that it takes to be resilient, disciplined, and forthcoming in both our strengths and our weaknesses.

2021 marked a year of transition for the HBA, for all of us. We started with a new CEO, while we all worked hard to adopt a new way of doing business--a new way of conducting business-- during the aftermath of the COVID pandemic.  It was marked with uncertainty for the future but backed by the resiliency of the people of our industry, and I am of the belief, we have all become better for it. It has tested our will, our very passion, and dedication to an industry we all love.

As the rules of the game changed, so did our strategies.  Equipped with a solid vision, foundation, and fully baked plans of our new CEO, the commitment of our staff, Executive Committee and Board, we started on a new journey, a new pathway for our Association.

We started the year by addressing our Associations declining membership numbers and re-addressing the value proposition that the Association had become known for over the course of 78 years.  Tactics included, but were not limited to; budget alignment, executing on staffing plans, leaning into our advocacy voice, and working with our Councils and Committees to drive the value proposition of the Association to the forefront.

I am happy to report that through the concentrated efforts of our new Membership Manager, Katie Evereth, and new Director of Government Affairs, Morgan Cullen we have achieved great things in a short amount of time. Our membership numbers are up, and we are showing an increase of eight net new members month over month, and we currently have more members than we started year with, while our advocacy efforts have never been stronger with major wins such as negotiating unreasonable impact fees, accelerating timelines by improving planning and review processes and opposing outrageous tax policies that would unfairly impact new and aspiring homeowners.  Like in Commerce City, where we reversed a decision by their council to suspend administrative approvals of plats, which would have further delayed our members’ abilities to provide much needed new housing. We have brought back online our Members Advantage Events, and Membership Orientations and Drives---all while creating new Advocacy programs for our General Membership through our Councils and Committees.  And, because of our many successes, most recently, we have been better positioned to support our advocacy programming, including the support of a Castle Rock New Construction Tax Opposition Campaign, and have, for the first time in many years, established an issue fund for the Association.

With a new, stabilized, and thriving staff, strong membership base, and heightened attention given to advocacy, we moved onto tackling our educational offerings and workforce planning resources.  I am happy to report, our Councils and Committees brought in person events, programming, and education back online and to the forefront of the Association, while our Executive Team concentrated on a new Emerging Leaders Program.

Our Emerging Leaders Program, which I am particularly proud of, will be the first program of its kind for the HBA of Metro Denver.  The program has been designed, with the intention of setting our Association up for success through succession -planning.  It is providing the Rising Stars in the industry an avenue, and platform to utilize their talents, and make a difference in our Association, and industry, for many years to come.  It ensures our Association that our HBA Executive Committee and Board of Directors will always have a unified, but diverse, voice and that we can continue to track towards operational excellence. Along with the program, we have also adopted a Stormwater Excellence Program, and open the lines of communication for future planning to strengthen our connection with the Construction Education Foundation, and the possibility for a Trade, or Workforce Council soon.

To summarize, we have had a damn good year. Our revenues are up, our expenses have been controlled, and we are in a better cash position that we have been in many years.  We demonstrated resiliency and have strengthened the value proposition through different pathways of innovation in advocacy and educational programming, while adopting new initiatives through a new lens, a new perspective.

Although, I may have not been the obvious choice to lead our Association this past year, I can proudly say we have accomplished a lot, and I extend my sincerest gratitude to the Board, the Executive Team, staff, and to Ted for your trust in allowing me to align with my core values of leadership through service---and to serve our industry as your 2021 HBA Board President.  Thank you.

Thank you, Angela for a exceptional and successful year of progress and innovation, with you at the HBA's helm.

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