President’s Message
The Eye of the Storm
By Mark Martin, 2020 NCHBA President
Mark Martin

It has been my great honor to serve as the 2020 President of the North Carolina Home Builders Association. When this journey started a year ago, I never could have imagined what the past several months would hold in store.

In March, the same week that NCHBA’s senior officers and I were planning to embark on our annual tour to every HBA region of the state, things started changing in response to COVID-19. Large events were canceled, bars and restaurants began closing, and “social distancing” was of the tip of everyone’s tongue. I know many of us in the home building industry had flashbacks to 2008 and the start of the Great Recession.

Thankfully, nine months later the home building industry has been a bright spot in the US economy. Many of us are busier than ever. Here on the Outer Banks, we’ve received calls from all over the country about folks wanting to move here. It has been a roller coaster of a year.

From my perspective, I’d say this year has been like a hurricane. Similar to how coastal communities bear the brunt of a storm, the worst economic effects of COVID-19 have been felt by hourly workers and small business owners in the retail, restaurant and hospitality industries. As builders, we have been incredibly blessed to have the humming businesses that we do.

We shouldn’t become lulled into a false sense of security however. The storm that is the COVID-19 crisis is not over. In fact, we may just be in the eye.

For one, lumber prices –which had leveled off from historic highs in 2020 –have once again started to climb. Add to that the limited availability of lots, supply-chain issues and a stubborn skilled labor shortage and these factors threaten to bring higher costs and longer build times in 2021. Plus, the strong demand for housing coupled with limited inventories of single-family homes has resulted in price increases across the board. For many buyers, those price increases have put owning their first home further out of reach.

Despite these obstacles, the fact that we have already overcome so many challenges in 2020 gives me great confidence about the future.

There are several groups of people I want to thank for making this an outstanding year. To the NCHBA staff, your work this year on behalf of our association has been phenomenal. It wasn’t until I became president that I truly understood the number of hours and the lengths that our staff will go to in order to get the job done. Thank you for your dedication. To the NCHBA Senior Officers, Executive Committee and Board of Directors, thank you for being out in your communities working hard for the association in these uncertain times.

(More PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE on page 4)