Publisher’s Note: October 2021

Hello readers in print and online,

Fall arrives and already we feel things cooling off here in Southern California. One hopes the colder weather will bring some much needed rain and even help the fire crews battling blazes in the northern part of the state. Although our Fall also brings the famous Santa Ana winds, which are notoriously not fire friendly at all. Fall has also brought some economic uncertainties which have rippled through the stock market and permeated the news. The Fed is signaling an end to quantize easing tactics and is warming up for an uptick in interest rates sometime next year. This typically puts the brakes on the economy and affects housing in particular. 

The proposed Infrastructure legislation is being tethered to an even more massive spending bill that many suggest is already DOA, but which in combination is making for a pretty significant ruling party fracas at the time of writing. We hope to at least see the bi-partisan supported Infrastructure legislation voted on and possibly enacted into law. Honestly though, the sheer size of the dollars being tossed around in both of these proposed bills is pretty mind blowing and gives us pause to consider the ramifications such sizable government investment may hold. 

None of this seems to be putting much of a dampener on people’s desire to buy a new home. The scarcity of inventory is the major drawback. As materials prices begin to sort themselves out, will home builder’s increase production? Some pundits suggest we will now begin to see a gradual return to normal inventory levels. The plague has the most to say about this and pretty much everything else happening in the country. Affordability is a bygone daydream at this stage.

In my 31 years publishing B&D and throughout my career on the media side of the U.S. home building industry and more recently on the greener side of housing development, I have been fortunate to meet a great number of thoroughly inspiring individuals and not so very many of the other sort. One man in particular I am very pleased to call my friend of 30 years was Jay Blakslee. 

We met at a BIA / SC dinner in 1990, Jay and I became friends almost immediately. He saw something in this then young Irishman that he liked and he gave me a leg up. We were both former soldiers, he in the Army and Vietnam, me in Ireland. Jay never spoke much about his time in Nam, although it stayed with him. He rode his big Harley from California back to DC and the Vietnam War Memorial with his brothers in arms annually. Jay introduced me to The HBC Board of Directors and also to HomeAid Orange County. I served alongside him on the boards of these two great organizations for many years. Jay was one of the five founding board members of HomeAid, now our industry’s very own national homeless outreach, responsible for building hundreds of homeless shelters across the country. 

Jay loved Montana and together with his lovely wife Theresa, they built an amazing log home there, near Hamilton, south of Missoula. I spent several fantastic vacations there as their guest. Shooting turkeys, smoking cigars, drinking whiskey and staying up late, telling stories and howling with the wolves. Jay was as good a friend as a man could ask for; wise, funny, empathetic, solid. A family man with a generous heart, he was my mentor and my great friend. Jay died unexpectedly in Montana on Patriot’s Day. One of our toughest days just got a lot tougher for Theresa, Jay’s family and all of his many friends in the U.S. home building business. My deepest condolences to all who knew him and to his HomeAid family who loved him like I did. I’m going to miss you mate. Hold me a seat in the mess hall, order me a wee dram, I will join you presently.

 

Godbless and Slainte. 

 

Nick Slevin

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