Ara Hovnanian says that he doesn't want to sound optimistic, but he sees the current market conditions as “wonderful opportunities cleverly disguised as problems.” And perhaps he's more historian than optimist. He's looked back on the 50 years his company has been in home building and seen how it weathered any number of slowdowns, stalls, and outright recessions.
“We've been through these cycles many times,” Hovnanian says. “Every time, we've emerged stronger and better. I'm certain we will this time as well.”
With that historical perspective, the current market correction should be easier to overcome than some in the past, he says. After all, the driving economic indicators of job growth, household formation, and interest rates are sound.
So, even after a bruising year (“I can't say 2006 stands out in my mind for achievements,” he says), Hovnanian's plan for 2007 is to focus on making budget and to do what it's done for years—look for opportunities to grow.
“As the market stabilizes at the bottom, we'll be looking for acquisitions,” he says. “I think there will be opportunities [to buy] great companies that are tired of going through these cycles.”