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Women Builders Council looks ahead

BY HBSDealer Staff

With an agenda that included panels named “Next Generation Women at Work and “Girls Who Build,” the Women Builders Council held its first segment of “Cocktails & Conversation,” to inspire what they’re calling the next generation of women builders.”

Almost a hundred women attended held in New York City.

“It is our goal to inspire young women to pursue careers in the building industry, while supporting women already in our field to strive and reach leadership roles and positions in their companies,” said WBC president Deborah Bradley. “From mentorship programs to developing leadership toolkits, I am excited to see how WBC can inspire the next generation of women builders, while encouraging our seasoned members to become the new corporate chiefs.” 

During the event, panelists led attendees through an open conversation about how to encourage and motivate women to choose and excel in careers within the building industry.

“As a young engineer, it’s great to come together with other women in the building industry to talk about what it’s like to work in a field that is predominantly dominated by men,” said Marina Kote of Turner Construction. “There are unique challenges we all face as women, and it’s nice to come together and talk about how we can get more young girls interested in becoming architects, builders and engineers.”

To learn more about Women Builders Council, visit wbcnyc.org.

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Existing home sales slip in October

BY HBSDealer Staff

Existing-home sales fell 3.4% in October, a month that saw a substantially larger drop in housing starts.

October's seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.36 million simply wasn't enough to keep up with September's strong surge of 5.55 million. However, last month's activity was still up 3.9% year-over-year.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, attributed the decrease due to a pullback in contract signings over the last couple of months.

"New and existing-home supply has struggled to improve so far this fall, leading to few choices for buyers and no easement of the ongoing affordability concerns still prevalent in some markets," he said. "Furthermore, the mixed signals of slowing economic growth and volatility in the financial markets slightly tempered demand and contributed to the decreasing pace of sales."

Home prices continued their steady track of year-over-year gains, with the median existing-home price of $219,600 marking a 5.8% improvement over the year prior.

Total housing inventory was down, however, by 2.3% to 2.14 million existing homes available for sale — that's 4.5% lower than a year ago.

For the single-family market, home sales were down 3.7% to a rate of 4.75 million in October, down from 4.93  million in September but up 4.6% year-over-year. The median single-family home price was $221,200, up 6.3% year-over-year.

Regionally, changes in home sale activity were negligible in the Northeast and Midwest (unchanged and down 0.8%, respectively). In the South, sales were down 3.2%, and sales in the West fell most drastically at 8.7%.

"As long as solid job creation continues, a gradual easing of credit standards even with moderately higher mortgage rates should support steady demand and sales continuing to rise above a year ago," said Yun.

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Simpson Strong-Tie recognized for corporate gender diversity

BY HBSDealer Staff

Simpson Strong-Tie is winning some points for its strong representation of women in top executive roles.

The company was recognized in the inaugural Watermark Index for gender diversity in corporate leadership. Together with only 10 other companies in the San Francisco Bay Area, Simpson Strong-Tie employs women in at least 30% of its top-five compensated executive positions and board seats.

“We are very honored to be among a stellar group of companies recognized in the inaugural Watermark Index. Women in senior roles at Simpson Strong-Tie is a natural extension of our company culture. It’s the right thing to do, it has the support of the entire management team, and it’s the way we do business,” said Simpson Strong-Tie president and CEO Karen Colonias.

Watermark is a Bay Area executive women’s organization. The index is based on data from the 2015-2016 UC Davis Study of California Women Business Leaders, using information from the 223 largest public companies headquartered in the Bay Area.

Interestingly enough, the study also found that companies on the Watermark Index outperformed other companies in the region by 49%, and companies in the state by 35%.

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