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Builders will unite for regional open house

The new year will bring a new marketing plan for the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association.

In a first-of-its-kind event locally, the association has scheduled what Executive Director Nat Hodgson is calling “the largest valleywide open house in Las Vegas history.”

“It’s certainly shaping up to be the largest promotional campaign in the association’s history,” Hodgson added.

The “It’s New Home Season” open house is scheduled for the weekends of Feb. 21-22 and Feb. 28-March 1, during what’s usually a strong period for home sales. The campaign will include advertising in newspapers and on the Internet, radio and television. Builders whose subdivisions tie into the campaign will have open houses at 51 communities. More than 15 builders — including American West, KB Home, Pardee, Toll Brothers and Pulte Group — had signed up to participate by mid-December. Another 14 member companies have signed up as sponsors.

The program is an initiative of the association’s recently revived sales and marketing committee, which had been on a 10-year hiatus. The committee took a break in 2005 because builders “weren’t really looking for new strategies of selling,” given that they couldn’t even keep up with the boom-era demand they had, Hodgson said. And when “armageddon hit” in the downturn, no one had any product to sell.

Now, the new-homes economy is on the mend, and the industry is feeling collegial.

“The recession opened people’s eyes a bit. You always want to work together with as many people as you can,” Hodgson said. “What can we learn from what we went through to make sure we can have measurable, sustainable improvements year after year?”

There’s some marketing ground to make up for sure. Local builders are closing on about 6,000 units a year now. That’s twice what they moved in the worst of the downturn, but roughly a fifth of what they sold in the best times. What’s more, new homes are just 12 percent of the local market, with resales making up the rest. That new-home share looks more like 30 percent in a typical market.

Part of the smaller market share traces to a perception that resales are significantly less expensive. The association already struck back at that notion with an August study using analyses from First American Title Co. and research firm SalesTraq. The findings: If you control for factors including age, size and foreclosure or other distress, the average price difference is less than $5,000. Armed with those stats and competitive information about resales, the builders were ready for a more direct sales-and-marketing approach.

Said Hodgson: “We’re a very small percentage of all home sales, so why shouldn’t we work together? We’re not even going to get last year’s numbers (of homes) built. No one really needs to worry about closing someone out. We’re still underbuilding so much, it’s not even funny. It’s healthy competition where we can work together. I’m happy and proud of my builders coming together and doing this.”

NAIOP forecast set

NAIOP Southern Nevada chapter, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, is holding its 2015 forecast event Jan. 15. The event runs from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. at The Orleans, at 4500 W. Tropicana Ave.

The presentation, called “Are We There Yet?,” will include commercial market data, an economic forecast and discussions of lending practices and national commercial real estate trends.

Charles Van Geel of American Nevada Co. will moderate discussions. The keynote speaker is Mark Dotzour, chief economist and director of research for the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University. Panelists are Adam Malan of The Equity Group; Randy Broadhead of CBRE; Jennifer Levine of Voit Real Estate Services; Kyle Nagy of CommCap Advisors; Scott Gragson of Colliers International; John Restrepo of RCG Economics; and Marcus Conklin of UNLV’s Lied Institute for Real Estate Studies.

Contact Jennifer Robison at jrobison@reviewjournal.com. Follow @J_Robison1 on Twitter.

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