By Lee Whitaker • 2018 President

As we usher in a new year, the Home Builders Association (HBA) of Greater Austin is getting ready for yet another busy year. We are fortunate to be living, working and building in the Austin market — one that has continued to grow year after year since the Great Recession that affected the region in the late 2000s. The ongoing growth in employment and population has fueled a seller’s market for many years now. And while market growth is generally a good thing, we are also facing an affordability problem. The growth also puts pressure on city staff where we find time and again that development services departments responsible for issuing permits are consistently struggling to keep pace — not only due to demand but because of inefficient systems and processes that increase the overall time needed to move a project along to completion. The HBA of Greater Austin’s members and government relations staff are committed to working with and educating city staff members so that efficiencies can be implemented that make a real impact.

In that vein, we continue to work with our partners at Evolve Austin to give professional and constructive feedback on CodeNEXT, the City of Austin’s development code rewrite — something that has not been done for more than 30 years. As we all trudge through the gruesome process of dissecting the proposed code, we have already discovered numerous issues that when implemented in the “real world” will make the process even more convoluted than it is now, if that’s possible. It’s through these continued exercises that I am proud to say we are doing all we can to bring positive change to the City and more importantly on behalf of our members, the overall real estate community and ultimately homeowners.

New HomeAid Chapter

The HBA is also gearing up for its first-ever HomeAid Chapter in 2018. HomeAid is a leading national non-profit provider of housing for today’s homeless. The organization partners with local nonprofits to build or renovate housing for America’s homeless families and individuals through local chapters in 17 markets across the country, each working with the local building industry to give back to the community. HomeAid was founded in 1989 by the Orange County chapter of the Building Industry Association of Southern California (BIA/SC). In 1995, HomeAid America (HAA) was created to expand the effort throughout the country. HomeAid has provided housing for more than 300,000 individuals who have been rendered temporarily homeless due to circumstances beyond their control, including:

    Abused children

    Victims of domestic violence

    At-risk teens

    Returning military veterans

    Those who are temporarily out of work

    Victims of natural disasters and other catastrophes

We are excited to be working with HomeAid America here in Austin. While the HBA of Greater Austin has given more than $2 million in donations to several local charities over the last 20 years, partnering with HomeAid allows us to concentrate our efforts in a new way that makes a big impact – and helps us fulfill our mission that all people are in homes and communities that enable them to thrive.

2018 Parade of Homes™

Building for the 2018 Parade of Homes™ is well underway. Mirabella at Travisso in Leander will host this year’s prestigious home tour Sept. 21–Oct. 7. The HBA is excited to be able to present a Parade of Homes in Williamson County and we are working with four premier custom home builders who have not built in previous Parade of Homes in our area.

As the Parade of Homes enters into this growing territory, we’re excited to announce some new features planned. Visitors will not only enjoy a spectacular display of four luxury custom homes priced above $1 million, for the first time we will also be showcasing an array of tiny homes. Visitors will have an opportunity to experience “living” on both sides of the spectrum. From top-of-the-line luxury custom homes to a minimalist lifestyle, the 2018 Parade of Homes will have it all. Also new this year, Parade goers will be able to attend scheduled workshops and demonstrations. REALTOR days will also be different this year. Open only to REALTORS, REALTOR Days will be from 2-7 p.m. (NEW TIMES!) on Sept. 28 and Oct. 7. REALTORS attending on these days will enjoy an exclusive experience when the Parade is reserved for a private showing to our REALTOR friends, free of charge.

Many of the details surrounding this year’s Parade of Homes programming are still taking shape, but you can stay connected by signing up for our email updates at Early-Bird tickets will be on sale soon so be sure to sign up so you’ll be the first to know. Parade of Homes tickets are a great gift for new homeowners looking for decorating and style ideas.

As the HBA’s 2018 President, I would like to personally invite you to connect with us. Consider becoming a member to help support the HBA’s vision that all people in the Greater Austin area live in strong communities and homes that enable them to thrive. Membership also serves to increase your business opportunities through networking and promotion opportunities that can add to your bottom line. For more information, call (512) 454-5588 or visit us online at Happy New Year!  RL