Near the beginning of this journey as your 2018 president of the North Carolina Home Builders Association, I had the pleasure of traveling the state for our Home Building First Tour. It was a wonderful experience to hear from so many of you, the members of NCHBA, about the regional issues you’re facing. As I thought about what message I wanted to deliver to kick-off each meeting, I came across an image of a father and his daughter. They were pictured relaxing at home, reading a book together. The image struck a chord with me because I believe it reflects the core mission of our association – to ensure that homeownership remains affordable and within reach for North Carolina families.

We need to keep that mission in focus. At the moment, the economic picture of the home building industry is looking bright. According to Genworth Mortgage Insurance’s First-Time Homebuyer Market Report for the first quarter of 2018, the number of first-time homebuyers is up 50 percent over four years. But unnecessary regulations, the rising cost of inputs such as lumber (which NAHB reports has added more than $7,000 to the price of a typical new home since the beginning of 2017), and the continued labor shortage all threaten to put homeownership out of reach for more people.

We can’t let that happen in North Carolina. And that’s why I’m so inspired by our association. At every level of government, our members fight to make sure that poorly devised regulations are kept at a minimum. At every opportunity to talk about the importance of skilled trades, our members proudly advocate for our industry.

I’ll offer two brief examples. First, in April NCHBA held the annual Builder Classic Golf Tournament in Southern Pines, NC. Besides being a great networking opportunity and just plain fun, this tournament has a very important purpose – it annually raises money to benefit the North Carolina Home Builders Educational Foundation, which provides scholarships to two-year and four-year college students who are relatives of an NCHBA member and are studying in a construction-related field. The tournament raised more than $11,000 for these scholarships. At NCHBA we’re not just talking about the importance of skilled trades, we’re investing in it.

Second, in May many of you gathered in Raleigh for NCHBA’s Legislative Reception and Visits. We pressed the flesh and pounded the pavement at the General Assembly to meet with our state senators and representatives. As a result, several of the legislative issues we discussed with them have passed this legislative session with overwhelming bipartisan support. It has to be mentioned here that our outstanding, proactive NCHBA government affairs team deserves great credit for getting these bills through committee to the floor and on the Governor’s desk. Thank you!

As we move forward this year, with a lot of important work and events ahead of us, let’s keep in mind the image of that father and daughter and what it means. Families in North Carolina are counting on us – not just to build the homes they’ll grow in today – but to ensure that future generations have the same opportunity.