Steven J. Hilton, Meritage Homes CEO.
Steven J. Hilton, Meritage Homes CEO, Photo Credit Meritage Homes.

In a panel on entry-level housing at Thursday's Hanley Wood HIVE event, Steven J. Hilton, chairman, CEO, and co-founder at Meritage Homes Corp., shared how his company was going to meet the need to produce millennial housing: Starting a new entry-level line.

Next week Meritage will launch a new “entry-level plus” brand that will be 100% spec, according to Hilton. Buyers will get the opportunity to purchase certain upgrades. Hilton thinks the fact that buyers will be able to move in immediately will appeal to millennial buyers, who he says don't want to wait six months to occupy a home they just bought.

The decision to go spec should also help on the labor front. "Entry-level is easier to build and that will help with labor [costs]," Hilton said.

There's another advantage with labor, as well. “The trades like it,” he says. “They will be able to stay on the job site."

Last year, Meritage closed 6,522 homes, putting it at No. 7 on the BUILDER 100.