IBS Conference Crowds Optimistic

IBS Conference Crowds Optimistic WASHINGTON, DC - Approximately 55,000 builders, remodelers and other members of the home building industry crowded the aisles of the National Association of Home Builders' International Builders' Show, which ended its four-day run Friday at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The mood? "I'd call it cautious optimism," said Ron Cook of Tamko Building Products in Joplin, Mo., one of more than 1,100 exhibitors at this year's event. "It's certainly different than it was last year because we didn't quite know what we were in for," as the country was still in the midst of the biggest recession since the 1930s.

Members lined up at the Partnership Pavilion, a new NAHB initiative on the show floor designed to match builders with financing sources. The program was launched to help serve an industry still stymied by a lack of available credit for new housing developments - as well as tighter restrictions on home buyer mortgages.

Builders and remodelers also attended educational presentations on design trends, energy retrofitting, marketing, low-income housing tax credits and more than 175 other topics.

"We came here to network," said Clint Wilson of Hybrid Core Homes in Santa Rosa, Calif. The show seemed livelier than last year's event, he said, although he and his colleagues were disappointed that The New American Home, the much-anticipated demonstration home that usually draws huge crowds, was unavailable for touring this year because of financing issues - a problem plaguing other builders throughout the industry.

A company manufacturing geothermal heating systems saw steady traffic at its booth, according to Steve Smith, managing partner at Enertech Manufacturing, LLC of Greenville, Ill., who said builders are particularly interested in learning more about the tax credits available for installing geothermal and other renewable energy heating and cooling systems.

"It's been a good, upbeat crowd," Smith said. "I think we all have a more positive attitude for 2010. I've already talked to our marketing folks about getting a bigger booth at next year's show." The next International Builders' Show takes place Jan. 12-15 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

The National Association of Home Builders is a Washington-based trade association representing more than 175,000 members involved in home building, remodeling, multifamily construction, property management, subcontracting, design, housing finance, building product manufacturing and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction. Known as "the voice of the housing industry," NAHB is affiliated with more than 800 state and local home builders associations around the country. NAHB's builder members will construct about 80 percent of the new housing units projected for 2010.
Source: National Association of Home Builders

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