Some builder management software mak-ers are reporting recent upticks in sales. The activity tends to be coming from lower-priced tiers of products, which in some cases have seen price reductions for the software and related training. But the trend seems real enough.

Referring to the NAHB business management and IT subcommittee meetings that took place in May, Constellation’s Builder 360 product line vice president Craig Schweikart says a sense of optimism among software makers was palpable. “Everyone believes they can start making plans again,” he notes.

Schweikart says the company changed its pricing model on its Build Soft program from a “significant” upfront license fee to a price per month and offered a 15 percent discount on five-hour training packages. That, he says, fueled more sales in Q2 of this year than in all of 2008.

Daryl Shenner, CEO of Homefront Software, says his company has had a similar experience with its Precision Builder and Project Builder software modules, which address cost estimating and scheduling, respectively. “We’re seeing increased sales among small semi-custom builders as well as larger builders that have downsized significantly,” he remarks. “Builders have ‘leaned down’ as much as they can at this point. They’re looking to leverage technology to do what they used to rely on people for.”

Schweikart also says that the NAHB teleconference suggested significant changes ahead for the builder software space. “It will be a new and different buyer emerging from the downturn,” he says, noting references to the role of social networking in marketing and communication coming out of the downturn and how local and federal energy management mandates are going to have to be integrated into builder IT software.

“There will still be challenges, but builders have made the decision to start investing again,” he adds.