Innovate or die. As difficult as it may seem, that’s the mantra that every builder today must live by. Pressure is coming from everywhere—from buyers, from resales, from other builders, and from banks. It will be too intense in coming years for companies to continue operating their businesses as usual. Future success will depend on fresh business cultures and better operational models that continually produce less expensive, noticeably better homes.

The evidence for change is compelling: Today’s new generation of young buyers want something completely different. They are more interested in function than fancy form. They want community ties rather than big staircases. They care more about a small carbon footprint than a spacious master bath. And they expect transparency in the companies whose products they buy.

Many new-home building companies, with young leadership, understand this. They have entered the market, unburdened by old debts and ways of doing business, with a clearer sense of what today’s buyers want. Old-line building companies must reinvent themselves around new, sleeker business models. They need to innovate, to capitalize on their market knowledge to create new and better business practices.

Builders need to operate more like high-tech companies, stressing a process of continual innovation, one that makes last year’s model obsolete and ignites a desire to own something new. Doing that requires the development of new cultures that stress creativity, innovation, subcontractor and supplier partnerships, and operational excellence.


As you will find in the stories that follow, and our special online coverage, this process is well underway. Forward-looking companies have seized on fresh market research to remake the houses they produce. They have adopted the latest mobile tech tools to dramatically reshape their business operations. They have implemented new and better ways to build homes. They have invented new paradigms that will shape the home building industry’s future. Don’t get left behind.