This year marks the 25th anniversary of BUILDER. We celebrate by chronicling 25 years of Progress, Pundits, Projects, Products, and Predictions. But we do it with an eye on the industry's future. If history is any guide, the industry will continue to change and develop. In the future, as in the past, the ability to capitalize on change will be what separates successful companies from the pack. In 1978, the NAHB owned BUILDER, which had previously been published as a tabloid under the name Journal Scope. Then, in the early '80s, starts dropped precipitously. It was the kind of free fall that old-timers love to rub in the face of industry newcomers. As the recession lingered into the early '80s, advertising revenue dried up and the NAHB decided to sell BUILDER. "They did not want a money-losing proposition," Hanley-Wood founder Mike Wood recalls. By September 1981, Hanley-Wood owned BUILDER. "A year later, with no end to the recession in sight, ... we bought Housing magazine from McGraw-Hill and merged the two for our October 1982 issue. As luck would have it, housing began its recovery in November 1982," Wood says. BUILDER's short history has coincided with a remarkable period in housing history. The first 12 years were marked by several vicious swings in housing starts that threw thousands of builders out of business. The last 12 can be characterized by relative prosperity.
BUILDER's Special 25th Anniversary Issue

New single-family homes built today are roughly 25 percent larger than homes built back then. Yet they are built on lots that average 9 percent smaller. Yesterday's kitchens, with mainly beige laminate counters and vinyl flooring, have given way to granite counters and commercial-grade appliances. Many of the products builders used in the disco days have been legislated out of existence. They have been replaced by a new generation of environmentally benign products. This period in the housing industry will be known as the era in which white-collar businesspeople took over. Most home builders 25 years ago came from the trades. Today's leaders often sport business school backgrounds. For an industry that supposedly resists change, home building has come a long way in its use of technology. Without the computerization of the '90s, it would be hard to imagine companies producing 30,000 homes a year, as several now do, or customizing everything down to a cabinet pull for customers. Finally, the last quarter century has witnessed the birth of an entirely new mortgage finance system, the envy of countries throughout the world. Even so, the housing industry faces significant challenges. Now that we are at war, the economic outlook is uncertain. Land and product inventories are almost non-existent. Anti-growth sentiment in this country remains strong. Amidst all the changes of the last two and a half decades, though, one thing has remained constant; housing remains a linchpin of the national economy. The industry showed its metal during the last two years, saving the national economy from what might have otherwise been a deep recession. Through it all, BUILDER has been there. To, for, and of this industry, we pledge to honor our tradition of timely, useful, and (we hope) engaging coverage.