May 2019 Building Connections

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T H E E - M AGAZ I N E O F T H E H B RA O F FA I R F I E L D CO U N TY - M AY 2 0 1 9




HBRA Golf Outing

Member Mixer Builder Roundtable Millennial Insights NAHB Benefits MunnCo

T H E E - M AG A Z I N E O F T H E H B R A O F FA I R F I E L D CO U N TY Building Connections is a monthly digital magazine produced and published by the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Fairfield County. Inside you will find the latest association news, legislative updates, upcoming events, and featured articles about the industry.

Editorial Staff

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Jackie Bertolone Executive Officer Sarah Iannarone Membership & Events Coordinator Clare Michalak Marketing & Graphics Coordinator



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IN THIS ISSUE HBRA NEWS • Message from the Executive Officer p. 5 • Upcoming Events p. 7 • June GMM p. 8 • Letter from the HBRA Board President p. 9 • Golf Registration and Sponsorships p. 10 • May Member Mixer p. 12 • Builder Roundtable p. 14 • PWB Meeting p. 14 • New Members p. 16 • Member Spotlight - Health Directions p. 18 • HBRA Job Bank Update p. 19 • Tina Anastasia Featured p. 20 • Accurate Lock & Hardware New Collection p. 20 • Jade Marketing Receives National Designation p. 20 • Advice Column p. 34 • Member Benefits p. 36

BUILDER NEWS • Hopeful for Development on Opportunity Zones • NIMBYism Biggest Multifamily Construction Barrier • Remodeling to Age-In-Place Remains Strong • Parallel Search of New and Existing Buyers

p. 22 p. 22 p. 23 p. 23

NAHB NEWS • Shortage of Skilled Labor Remains • 55+ Housing Market Opens with Record Highs • Housing Affordability Holds Steady • Builder Confidence Posts Solid Gain in May • Single & Multifamily Start Post Solid Gain • Chairman Ugalde on Trade Developments

p. 24 p. 24 p. 25 p. 25 p. 26 p. 26

MILLENIAL INSIGHTS • Slowdown Likely for Secondwave Millennial Buyers • Wave of Millennials embracing Surburban Over City • 62% of Millennials Report Living Paycheck to Paycheck

p. 28 p. 28 p. 28



• Legislative Updates p. 31 • Updates from the State CEO p. 32

Photography By: Sandro de Carvalho

Advertisers: County TV & Appliance Pella Windows and Doors DiMatteo Insurance Huber Engineered Woods Interstate Lumber Fairfield County Bank

p. 6 p. 15 p. 20 p. 22 p. 23 p. 25

Chloe Winston Acadia Insurance Ridgefield Supply Tooher Ferraris CTC&G

p. 26 p. 27 p. 29 p. 30 p. 33

Ed’s Garage Door New England Home United Bank Marlin Electric Ring’s End

p. 35 p. 36 p. 37 p. 38 p. 40


2018-19 OFFICERS


President Anthony DeRosa DeRosa Builders

Sr. Vice-President Kim DiMatteo DiMatteo Insurance

Vice President John Hertz

Hertz Construction

Secretary Rob Michaud


The Michaud Group

Immediate Past President Chris Steiner Steiner, Inc.



Propane Pete Battaglio Hocon Gas

Max Bender Bender Supply

Steve Berko

Four Square Build & Design

Michael Church

William Pitt Sotheby’s


Ken DeLeo

Doherty & DeLeo

Brian Kurtz

Interstate Lumber

Steve LoParco

LoParco Associates, Inc.

Steven Roth

Elevator Service Company

Alex Shook


Pella Commercial

Michael Wood Wood Builders

LIFE DIRECTORS Joanne Carroll JMC Resources

Michael Palumbo ERI Building & Design

Jerry Effren The Greyrock Companies

Peter Gaboriault Bear Paw Builders

Gary Fanali City Carting

Terrence Beaty William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty

Peter Fusaro Preferred Builders


Thank you to the following VIP Associate Members for their support in 2019. Due to their generosity the Association greatly benefits - from developing new events and educational opportunities for the membership, to keeping our lights on!

MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE OFFICER Dear MembersHappy Memorial Day! I’m sure you are all looking forward to the start of summer as we close out May. Over the coming warm months the HBRA has a few things to look forward to: - June 12th GMM with live demos & food trucks at Ring’s End - July 11th Professional Women in Building Summer Social - July 22nd Annual Golf Classic Then we return in the fall for our annual party at the beach in Fairfield on September 11th! Mark your calendars to save the date now. The first half of the year has been a great one for the HBRA with over 50 companies joining as new members. We look forward to continued growth and enthusiasm in the second half of the year. We will be offering more seminars and events to help our industry connect and grow together. As always, if there’s a topic or seminar you would like to see us offer please reach out to me. I look forward to seeing you all in June. All the best,

Jackie L. Bertolone Executive Officer

MAY 2019 | HBRA of Fairfield County 5


From From Kitchen Kitchen Appliances Appliances to Home to Home Automation... Automation... WE WE HAVE HAVE IT ALL! IT ALL!


27702770 Summer Summer Street Street • Stamford, • Stamford, CT 06905 CT 06905 • 203-327-2630 • 203-327-2630 STORE HOURS: STORE HOURS: MON & THURS: MON & THURS: 9AM-9PM 9AM-9PM | TUES, WED, | TUES, FRI WED, & SAT: FRI9AM-6PM & SAT: 9AM-6PM | SUN: 11AM-5PM | SUN: 11AM-5PM



June GMM - Live Demos & Food Trucks June 12, 2019 Rings’ End Darien Click Here to Register

Builder Roundtable June 27, 2019 - New Canaan Save the Date * Builders Only*

Luxury Living Panel July 10, 2019 SAVE THE DATE

HBRA Annual Golf Classic July 22, 2019 Click Here to Register Click Here for Sponsorships

Member Events

Summer Kick Off! New England Home + Closet & Storage Concepts May 30, 5:30-8:30 p.m. | Register Here

Committee Meetings Associates Council June 18, 4:30pm | HBRA Office Golf Committee June 13, 3:00pm | HBRA Office Membership Committee June 19th, 10:30am | HBRA Office PWB Council June 20| TORRCO- Fairfield MAY 2019 | HBRA of Fairfield County 7



JUNE 12, 2019 | 6:00 - 9:00PM | RINGS END DARIEN Join the HBRA of Fairfield County for an outdoor event with live demos and displays from industry experts, giveaways and networking. HBRA Members: $20

General Admission: $40


The first 100 people to arrive will receive a YETI wine tumbler. All registered guests will have the chance to win raffle prizes including a Weber Grill and YETI Coolers. Preregistration is required. Please email or call 203-335-7008

Vendors include: • • • • • • •

Marvin Modern Red Cedar Shingles Intex Millwork Solutions Fiberon Benjamin Moore Kitchens & Interiors Huber “Prove It Tour” Architects who visit the Prove It Tour truck receive 1 CEU Credit

Food Trucks: • Big Green Truck Pizza • Cousins Maine Lobster Rolls • Bumski’s Beer & Wine

8 HBRA of Fairfield County | MAY 2019

MESSAGE FROM THE HBRA BOARD PRESIDENT Dear Members, Thank you for your continued membership with our growing association. With over 50 new members just this year, and selling out our events each month, I am thrilled to see the enthusiasm and new faces at our meetings. I hope you are taking advantage of the many things the HBRA offers whether it be rebates and discounts, awards nominations, education classes or the networking that has brought new business development to so many of us. #dobusinesswithamember We have launched a monthly builder roundtable which is a great way for builders & remodelers to connect with each other and learn about what’s going on in the marketplace. If you are interested in hosting one or suggesting a topic or facilitator, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Jackie or myself. I am looking forward to the June 12 GMM at Ring’s End in Darien. This will be an outdoor event with food trucks and live demos. We will also be swearing in the Board of Directors for a new term. Our annual Golf Classic is on July 22. I encourage you all to sign up and play, sponsor or volunteer. As my company does every year, I will be playing and sponsoring to support this great association that has given so much to me. Plus, I’m pretty sure we are the only tournament around that provides an on course raw bar! This fall we will have our annual event at Fairfield beach, a fire pit party alongside a presentation of a nationally acclaimed economist and our awards dinner on December 11. The HBRA will also offer several educational courses for builders and associates. Lastly, if you want to get more involved and join a committee, please let us know. It’s the best way to maximize your membership and have a voice in the future of our organization. I look forward to serving my last year as President of this association and I hope to see you all in the near future. Sincerely, Anthony DeRosa President, HBRA of Fairfield County MAY 2019 | HBRA of Fairfield County 9

Sponsorship Opportunities Caddy Shack Station: $2,000 Dinner Sponsor: $2,000 Ice Cream Cart: $750 Closest to the Pin: $500 Golf Ball Marker: $400 Golf Tees: $400

Hole-In-One Sponsor: $350 Driving Range: $350 Closest to the Pin (9-Hole): $300 Closest to the Line: $400 Closest to the Line (9-Hole): $250 Tee Sponsor (27 Available): $250

Raffle Prizes The HBRA golf tournament sells out every year! Don’t miss an opportunity to showcase your products and business by donating an exciting raffle prize. Donate your own Raffle Prize Craft Beer Basket Raffle Prize: $250 Wine Basket Raffle Prize: $250

For any questions on sponsorship specifics and details:

Please call or email the office at 203-335-7008 or email Please visit

Please submit, fax, or mail registration by June 24, 2019

Click here for sponsorship information

10 HBRA of Fairfield County | MAY 2019

Registration is open HBRA GOLF CLASSIC July 22, 2019

Tashua Knolls Golf Course 40 Tashua Knolls Lane Trumbull CT 06611

Two Tournaments:

18 Hole – 11:00AM Shotgun Start 9-Hole – 2:30 PM Shotgun Start Cocktail Hour – 4:00 - 5:00PM Dinner – 5:00PM Early Bird Pricing - Register by June 21st $225 each - $900 foursome Golfer Registration after June 21st $250 each - $1000 foursome Banquet Only Registrations $60 per person

Click here for golfer and dinneronly registrations.

MAY 2019 | HBRA of Fairfield County 11


May Member Mixer & GMM On May 1, we held a sold out Member Mixer at Two Roads Brewery and celebrated the conclusion of our spring Membership Recruitment Challenge. Since January, 50 companies have joined the HBRA of Fairfield County as new members, far surpassing our goal. This brings our total to 518 members in our association. Congratulations to Suzanne Stillwell for recruiting the most members and winning the grand prize: iPad mini.We also want to extend big thank yous to our second place winner Karen Bradbury and our third place winners who tied, Rich Cunningham and Propane Pete Battaglio. Associate members had tables to showcase their businesses and members participated in a fun bar bingo game to meet new members and sponsors. This event would not have been possible without the support of our wonderful event sponsors and enthusiastic members who make every event not only fun, but also meaningful and productive. Thank you to all who participated.

12 HBRA of Fairfield County | MAY 2019


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HBRA NEWS Builder Round Table The May builder roundtable was hosted by Anthony DeRosa at his beautiful spec home located at 1 Tower Lane in Greenwich. The builders shared a market update with each other and then Houlihan Lawrence provided an in depth look at the Greenwich real estate market. Builder roundtables are offered each month in different towns throughout Fairfield County. If you are interested in hosting a builder roundtable in your town or suggesting a topic, please contact Jackie.

Professional Women in Building Council Meeting The May PWB Meeting was hosted by Accurate Lock & Hardware in Stamford, CT. Our gracious hosts gave us a tour of their family owned manufacturing operation and provided refreshments and networking after the meeting. Amber Wilder of Wilder Media gave a presentation on digital marketing with an interactive Q&A. The meeting drew 30 PWB members and guests. There are currently 58 members of the Fairfield County Professional Women in Building Council. Next month’s meeting will be on June 20th at Torrco in Fairfield. 14 HBRA of Fairfield County | MAY 2019

MAY 2019 | HBRA of Fairfield County 15

HBRA NEW MEMBERS Britt Newman Design Concepts Britt Newman

Britt began her design career as a decorative painter. Her love of color and texture is reflected in many different facets of her work in homes and offices throughout the tristate area.An honors graduate from the New York School of Interior Design, she began her work in a Manhattan-based design firm, then moved on to her own business, Britt Newman Design Concepts LLC... READ MORE

Genesis Pro Painting & Restoration Inc. Genesis Macedo

In the last few years Genesis Pro Painting has become one of the fastest growing painting companies in the Westchester County. Why is that important to you? Because we have done so by consistently using the best painting practices, techniques, and standards along with premium paints and materials; and employing wellcompensated and motivated people who regard painting as a career, not an “odd job.”... READ MORE

Gretchen Reinheimer Design, LLC Gretchen Reinheimer

Gretchen Reinheimer brings an added dimension to her interior design services. Her trained eye combines the practical with the esthetic and reflects architectural skill and sensitivity to designing space with purpose. She’s an avid listener, probing and exploring with passion and dedication, resulting in a distinct and unique vision for each project. Never complacent, Gretchen inspires her collaborating partners, whether architects, contractors or tradesmen to reach higher and deliver first rate work.... READ MORE

Polcer Home Improvement, LLC Kevin Polcer

At Polcer Home Improvement, we want to form lasting relationships with our customers. We are committed to uncompromising quality, integrity, communication, cleanliness and attention to details. We strive for customer satisfaction with all of our projects both big and small. Polcer Home Improvement manages all phases of carpentry and home improvements, from the smallest of jobs to remodeled baths, kitchens and other types of renovations... READ MORE

Stoneleaf Construction, LLC Julie Doran

It is our mission to provide clients with a complete set of construction services that feature unparalleled craftsmanship responding to the latest trends in design, and reamaining cognizant of each building’s environmental footprint. We are the advocates that our clients need to make their custom home, multifamily homes, and hospitality dreams vibrant realities... READ MORE 16 HBRA of Fairfield County | MAY 2019

HBRA NEW MEMBERS Audio Video Systems Inc. Rick Shapot

We will custom tailor a high-quality home system to meet your specific taste and lifestyle. Though we are headquartered in Plainview, Long Island, with additional offices in Manhattan and Armonk, NY, we regularly deliver best-in-class design and installation services for clients around the world. Our talented team of more than seventy professionals has decades of experience delivering the highest quality home system solutions... READ MORE

Dale Minske Interior Design & Decoration Dale Minske

Interior designer, Dale Minske, one of the top specialists on design and stylish products for waterfront, antique, historic preservation, and quintessential CT country homes and estates, started her career in design over 15 years ago, alongside raising her family of three. Over the years, while raising her children, Dale received her Interior Design certification and has completed hundreds of residential interior design projects for her discerning clients in and around Fairfield County and Wilton, Connecticut where she has called home for 30 years... READ MORE

Fimbel Architectural Doors Erin Hendricks

Fimbel Architectural doors are modern, innovation marvels — we use advanced materials and patented precision manufacturing methods as well as designs based on original period drawings to deliver the most well-made, durable, and beautiful doors on the market today. Your door will feature one or more of our technology patents. Our wide range of styles and price points, means that there is a Fimbel door available for any home or business at almost any budget. That’s why our doors can be found on homes and businesses across the country... READ MORE

Dina Lumber & Building Materials Robert Kennedy

Established in 1963, Dina has grown to be one of the leading suppliers of quality residential and commercial building materials with a focus on serving the needs of professional contractors and homeowners in the region. We serve theTri-State area and can fulfill out-of-state orders upon request. READ MORE

Edgewater Development, LLC Frank J. DeLuca

Edgewater Development has been providing unparalleled quality of construction for over 20 years in Connecticut. We have built a team of excellence inclusive of top rated designers, experienced project managers, flawless construction crew and complete dedicated support personnel. Our history of building fine custom homes together has allowed us to create a unique bond that makes the Edgewater Development team particularly effective... READ MORE MAY 2019 | HBRA of Fairfield County 17


Health Directions Mark Bentley 1300 Post Road, Suite 100 Fairfield, CT 06824 (203) 255-7700 Think of Health Directions as your dedicated individual and business HR partner right in Fairfield! Founded by new HBRA member Mark Bentley and his brother Curtis, Health Directions offers complimentary small business and personal healthcare insurance planning. They pride themselves on taking the time to really get to know clients’ unique situations to guide them toward the right plans with the right features at the right time. Mark draws upon decades of expertise and ongoing research to optimize healthcare coverage and business tax savings in a couple of ways: • Contact him to help your business and employees maximize tax deductions. By enrolling in either a Healthcare Reimbursement Account (HRA) for sole proprietors and corporations, or a Universal Benefit Account for companies with multiple employees. (On average, companies can save up to $5,500 per year.) TASC, a partner of Health Directions in this venture, does all the paperwork and benefits administration while clients and employees get all the savings and ease-of- use! Of course, all businesses are different, so all plans are totally customized to address each client’s specific needs and goals. • Health Directions also specializes in advising people approaching 65 about Medicare enrollment – taking the stress out of all the associated complex decision-making and analysis. Weighing current and future healthcare needs, they will suggest the best Medicare options, assess the benefits of staying on a company plan for an individual and/or spouse if still working, and support timely enrollment to avoid penalties. Mark is committed to open communication, providing totally objective ongoing advice, and removing the mystery from healthcare planning. He looks forward to meeting many more of his HBRA peers. 18 HBRA of Fairfield County | MAY 2019

HBRA JOB BANK MOST RECENT JOB POSTINGS JOB TITLE: CUSTOMER CARE REPRESENTATIVE – ORDER MANAGEMENT Hours: Full Time/Part Time/Flex Start Date: September 2019 Job Description We are seeking a part-time, full time, or flex schedule, customer service representative who will be responsible for the day to day operations to join our team. Main areas of duties include but are not limited to: · Customer care: serve as the main contact for customers; monitoring orders from beginning to end; address questions regarding technical specifications, pricing, shipping instructions · Post sales : invoicing, shipping, charging · Inventory management: keeping track of inventory, generate purchase orders as needed, liase with suppliers · Office management: track and order supplies, file, answer correspondence · General upkeep of the offices: assist all team members, management, and warehouse personnel as needed Salary TBD

Contact: D.J.A. Imports Ltd. Gina Pietrocola East Bronx NY (718) 324-6871

JOB TITLE: SOCIAL MEDIA/ BRAND ASSOCIATE Hours: Full Time/Part Time/Flex Start Date: September 2019 Job Description D.J.A. a nationwide leader in the nationwide distribution of ornamental/architectural steel, and gate hardware, Is actively seeking a motivated, innovative, self-starter for this hands-on social media associate position.

JOB TITLE: OFFICE ASSISTANT Hours: Full Time/Part Time/Flex Start Date: September 2019 Job Description: Responsible for the professional and efficient management of the office, telephone calls, inquiries, as well as a variety of clerical duties that support the daily office operations. Among them are:

· Greet clients and vendors · Promptly answer phone calls and · Market/promote new and existing inquiries products, work on catalog/print · Direct/relay messages design, trade show marketing, · Provide information related to and website the company · Assist in writing and designing · Ensure office areas are kept email based newsletters, press clean, neat, and stocked releases · Sort/distribute mail, emails, and · Use digital imaging and work faxes with photoshop · Prepare and process outgoing · Maintain and update content on mail and catalog requests all social media platforms · Assist colleagues as needed and · Develop unique campaigns that directed engage target audiences · Filing client and vendor · Integrate social media into an documents overall marketing strategy Salary · Current or recently graduated TBD college students are urged to apply. Please send a cover letter to include availability and a current resume including samples of work you have completed The ideal candidate will :

Salary TBD

MAY 2019 | HBRA of Fairfield County 19

HBRA MEMBER NEWS Tina Anastasia | Designer Inc. Spotlight This week’s designer spotlight is Tina Anastasia, the director of interior design from Mark Finlay Interiors. So, without further ado -- enjoy this wonderful interview with Tina and view some of the imagery from their stunning designs! Why did you decide to become a designer? I have a photo of when I was 11 when I drew a dollhouse for a furniture company. That was the spark. With my father in the industry, I insisted he bring me to job sites where I became very comfortable with design and how the whole process worked. What is your favorite current resource when working on a project? I constantly sift through shelter publications for inspiration, there is always a towering stack on my desk. Then, I end up dreaming a lot of my ideas based on what I glean from those publications! Read More

20 HBRA of Fairfield County | MAY 2019

HBRA MEMBER NEWS Accurate Lock and Hardware is launching the Jay Jeffers for Access by Accurate Collection this week at ICFF They launched the new collection at ICFF NYC Booth #2622 in the Luxe Magazine Pavilion Instagram @accessbyaccurate Facebook accessbyaccurate

Jade Marketing Solutions Receives A Prestigious National Designation Jade Marketing Solutions of Greenwich, co-founded by Suzanne Stillwell of Greenwich and Samantha Kempster of Westport, has received a prestigious national designation. This innovative marketing company became certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise through the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, the nation’s largest third-party certifier of businesses owned and operated by women in the U.S. The certification is approved by the federal Small Business Administration’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program. “In order to be accepted as a certified women’s business, the application process was very rigorous,” Stillwell said. “We had to pass an intense interview and document review process.” Both Stillwell and Kempster are the managing directors of Jade Marketing Solutions. “This certification opens the door for our company to pursue new business with access to hundreds of major U.S. corporations and federal, state and local government entities that accept WBENC certification,” Kempster said. WBENC certification validates that the business is 51 percent owned and controlled by women. The federal government’s goal is to award at least 5 percent of all federal contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses each year. Read More MAY 2019 | HBRA of Fairfield County 21

BUILDER NEWS Officials Hopeful For Development Progress On Connecticut’s 72 ‘Opportunity Zone’ Sites Development officials in Connecticut say they are expecting to making substantial progress by the end of 2019 in marketing the state’s 72 federally designated Opportunity Zone sites. The IRS recently released an updated set of regulations for investors in Opportunity Zone sites that clarify procedures under a tax benefit program established by the White House in 2017 as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The program is designed to encourage private investment in lower-income areas around the country. Connecticut has Opportunity Zone sites in 27 towns from the largest cities like Hartford, New Have, and Waterbury to mid-sized and small communities like Meriden, Windham, and Putnam. There is still more to be clarified at the federal level, but the state is preparing new materials to show what the sites have to offer and how they can add value for a private investor, David Kooris, deputy director of the state Department of Economic and Community Development, said.

New study shows NIMBYism is the biggest multifamily construction barrier According to a new study, NIMBYism is standing in the way of more affordable apartment construction across the U.S. As rents continue to rise, a new study from the National Apartment Association analyzed the factors in 29 major metros that make multifamily apartment construction more difficult to achieve nationwide. Read More

Read More

IT’S NOT A TREND. IT’S A REVOLUTION. Visit to learn how easy it is to make the switch.

© 2017-2019 Huber Engineered Woods LLC. ZIP System, the accompanying ZIP System logo and design are trademarks of Huber Engineered Woods LLC. Huber Engineered Woods’ ZIP System® products are covered by various patents. Please see for details. HUB 81860 REV 1/19

22 HBRA of Fairfield County | MAY 2019

BUILDER NEWS Remodeling To Age-In-Place Remains Strong Among Older Homeowners More than 75% of professional remodelers take on aging-in-place projects, according to the National Association of Home Builder’s (NAHB) Remodeling Market Index (RMI) survey for the fourth quarter of 2018. The survey indicates most aging-in-place work is being done for homeowners aged 55 or older, but also shows there is a modest uptick for aging-in-place projects among homeowners between the ages of 25 and 54.

The Parallel Search Of New And Existing Home Buyers

The RMI survey has asked questions about aging-in-place periodically, beginning in 2004. Initially, about three-fifths of remodelers reported aging-in-place home modifications. The percentage increased over the years, reaching a peak of 80% in 2016. Although the percentage declined slightly in the 2018 survey, 77% of remodelers are still reporting agingin-place work, the second highest aging-in-place percentage on record since NAHB began collecting the information.

The home-buying journey begins similarly for all buyers — dreaming about the lifestyle they want to live, getting finances in order, and then figuring out what home features are desired. But what’s most interesting, according to Zillow Group research, is that the idea of purchasing new construction enters the journey about midway through for both existing and new construction buyers.

Read More

Read More

MAY 2019 | HBRA of Fairfield County 23

NAHB NEWS 55+ Housing Market Opens First Quarter with Record High Builder confidence in the singlefamily 55+ housing market continued to strengthen in the first quarter of 2019 with a reading of 72, up six points from the previous quarter, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) 55+ Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. This is the highest reading since the inception of the index in 2008.

For Remodelers, Shortages of Skilled Labor Remain Elevated In response to NAHB’s Remodeling Market Index (RMI) survey for the 3rd quarter of 2018, roughly 85 percent of remodelers reported shortages of workers available to perform finished or rough carpentry, and nearly half (48 percent) classified the shortage of finished carpenters as serious. Although these percentages are down slightly from a year earlier, they remain seriously elevated. The RMI survey collected information on 16 specific occupations that were either specifically recommended by Home Builders Institute (NAHB’s workforce development arm) or that NAHB found to be particularly significant when tabulating Bureau of Labor Statistics data for a recent article on Young Adults & the Construction Trades. In the 3rd quarter of 2018, over half of the remodelers reported shortages of labor in 12 of the 16 categories. As usual, the reported shortages were most widespread for the three categories of carpenters, but over 60 percent of remodelers also reported shortages of bricklayers & masons (71 percent), concrete workers (70 percent) and drywall installers (65 percent). NAHB began asking remodelers about labor shortages in 2013, modeling the questions on similar ones periodically asked of singlefamily builders in the survey for the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. For each of the trades tracked consistently since that time, the shortages peaked in 2017, then declined slightly in 2018. Read More

24 HBRA of Fairfield County | MAY 2019

The 55+ HMI measures two segments of the 55+ housing market: single-family homes and multifamily condominiums. Each segment of the 55+ HMI measures builder sentiment based on a survey that asks if current sales, prospective buyer traffic and anticipated six-month sales for that market are good, fair or poor (high, average or low for traffic). “Overall, demand for homes in 55+ communities remain strong as more buyers and renters in that market search for simpler living arrangements,” said Karen Schroeder, chair of NAHB’s 55+ Housing Industry Council and vice president of Mayberry Homes in East Lansing, Mich. “However, there are still headwinds that are impacting the market, such as rising construction costs and a lack of skilled labor.” Read More

NAHB NEWS Housing Affordability Holds Steady on a YearOver-Year Basis

Builder Confidence Posts Solid Gain in May

Lower home prices, declining mortgage rates and solid income gains contributed to a rise in housing affordability in the first quarter of 2019, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/ Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) released today. However, the HOI was little changed on a year-over-year basis, as home buyers continue to face ongoing challenges in terms of limited inventory, especially among starter homes for prospective first-time buyers.

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes rose three points to 66 in May, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. Builder sentiment is at its highest level since October 2018.

In all, 61.4 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of January and end of March were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $75,500. This is up from the 56.6 percent of homes sold in the fourth quarter of 2018 that were affordable to median-income earners and relatively unchanged compared to a first quarter 2018 reading of 61.6. Read More

“Builders are busy catching up after a wet winter and many characterize sales as solid, driven by improved demand and ongoing low overall supply,” said NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde, a home builder and developer from Torrington, Conn. “ Read More

Financing some of the top builders in Fairfield County.

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MAY 2019 | HBRA of Fairfield County 25

NAHB NEWS Single-Family and Multifamily Starts Post Solid NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde on Trade Gains in April Total housing starts rose 5.7 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted Developments with annual rate of 1.24 million units from an upwardly revised reading Mexico and Canada in March, according to a report from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development and Commerce Department.

The April reading of 1.24 million is the number of housing units builders would begin if they kept this pace for the next 12 months. Within this overall number, single-family starts increased 6.2 percent to 854,000 units. The multifamily sector, which includes apartment buildings and condos, increased 4.7 percent to a 381,000 pace. “Builders remain cautious due to affordability concerns,� said Greg Ugalde, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Torrington, Conn. “But as our builder confidence survey shows, their expectations indicate consumers will respond to lower interest rates moving forward and the housing market will continue on a slow, steady climb.� Read More

“NAHB commends President Trump for removing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico. This will provide momentum for Congress to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which holds the potential to lift the housing economy.climb.� “Now that the White House has achieved substantial progress in advancing the USMCA, we urge the administration to focus its efforts on resolving the softwood lumber trade dispute with Canada... Read More




26 HBRA of Fairfield County | MAY 2019 68 WATER STREET SOUTH NORWALK, CT 203-957-8686

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The Right Policy for Your Business Acadia Insurance offers qualifying contractors a full array of necessary coverages including property, general liability, workers’ compensation, business automobile and umbrella. In addition, we can provide builders’ risk coverage, installation floater and equipment coverage.

✓ We have designed special coverage options just for home builders: Liability Coverage Enhancements:

Property Coverage Enhancements:

• Waiver of subrogation clause

• Coverage for newly acquired property

• Limited pollution coverage

• Coverage for property while in-transit

• Extended property damage coverage

• Debris removal coverage

✓ Acadia Insurance can craft the coverage you need to operate your business. For a full listing of coverages and how they apply to an individual home builder, please see an Acadia Insurance agent who is equipped to analyze your current insurance program and provide you with recommendations.

MAY 2019 | HBRA of Fairfield County 27

M I L L E N N I A L I N S I G H TS Zillow: Housing Slowdown Likely To Pass As Second Wave Of Millennials Enter Housing Market Although the housing market cool down has seen home price growth slow and inventory dwindle, recent data from Zillow suggests an oncoming wave of first-time buyers could turn things around. According to Zillow’s analysis, an extra 3.11 million people at prime firsttime home-buying age are projected to enter the market by 2028.. “From 2019 through 2028, 44.9 million people will turn 34, the median age of current first-time home buyers,” Zillow writes. “That’s an increase of 7.4% from the past 10 years, when 41.8 million people passed that threshold.” While it’s not certain if each of these people will purchase a home, Zillow claims the sheer heft of their numbers will impact the market. “It’s a comforting idea in a quickly cooling housing market that there is significant structural, long-term demand moving into homebuying,” Zillow writes. “This increases our confidence that the slowdown will correct itself before too long.” Read More

Wave Of Millennials Embracing Suburban Living Over City Bustle For a generation known for its desire for a work-and-play environment, millennials, experts say, want something a bit quainter when they decide to start a family. A survey conducted by the New Canaan Board of Realtors found that new millennial homebuyers are embracing a suburban life that offers the convenience of a downtown area and good school systems. The BOR surveyed roughly 20 of New Canaan’s recent buyers, who were mostly millennials in their 30s moving from New York into Connecticut. As millennials settle into careers and get married, they are looking to get out of the metropolitan apartments and into a cozy home outside of the city limits. “Moving from the city into the suburbs is a big change,” Janis Hennessy, president of the New Canaan Board of Realtors, said in a news release. “Our goal is to make buyers feel welcomed and help them experience the many benefits of living in New Canaan.” Millennials account for 42 percent of homebuyers nationwide — and 43 percent of first-time buyers purchase in the suburbs, according to The Zillow Group 2018 Consumer Housing Trends Reports. Coming years will see a surge of first-time buyers in the millennial generation, which currently ranges between 23 and 37 years old. Read More 28 HBRA of Fairfield County | MAY 2019

62% Of Millennials Say They’re Living Paycheck To Paycheck Almost two-thirds of millennials say they’re living paycheck to paycheck and only 38% feel financially stable, according to a new survey from Charles Schwab. Millennials, more than any other generation surveyed by Schwab, feel the most insecure when it comes to their finances. That’s according to roughly 380 millennials (ages 23 to 38) surveyed for Schwab’s 2019 Modern Wealth report. Yet millennials also say they spend an average of $478 a month on “nonessential” purchases, such as dining out, entertainment, luxury items and vacations. That’s less than the $587 Gen Xers report spending, but more than the $359 spent by baby boomers. “It may seem odd that when we look at statistics that say so many millennials are living paycheck to paycheck, but on the other hand, they’re overspending,” says Farnoosh Torabi, personal finance author and host of the “So Money” podcast. Schwab partners with Torabi’s Stacks House, a pop-up experience that promotes financial independence for women. But while it may seem counterintuitive, it’s the reality many millennials face, she says. “When your financial life is in disarray, chances are, you will overspend,” she tells CNBC Make It. “Emotions around money lead us to make irrational choices.” Read More

DON’T JUST INVEST IN WINDOWS, INVEST IN THE CONTRACTOR. ANDERSEN DID. Even the best windows don’t perform well if they’re not installed properly. Andersen Certified Contractors are trained by ® Andersen to install Andersen windows and patio doors. In fact, Andersen is so confident in their contractors, they offer a 2-year installation limited warranty.* When you’re ready to replace, Andersen contractors are here to help. You’ll not only be choosing someone certified by Andersen, you’ll be choosing the window company ranked #1 in quality and the one most trusted and recommended by trade professionals.** *See Andersen certified contractor limited warranty for details. **Based on 2016 survey of trade contractors. “Andersen” and all other marks where denoted are trademarks of Andersen Corporation. ©2018 Andersen Corporation. All rights reserved.

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STATE LEGISLATIVE NEWS Lamont Leaves Tolls For Special Session Gov. Ned Lamont conceded Tuesday that the 2019 session of the General Assembly will end June 5 without a vote on highway tolls, recasting his focus for the final weeks to delivering a budget that will provide a reliable fiscal blueprint for Connecticut for the next two years. “My first priority is to get an honestly balanced budget done on time,” Lamont said. “That was a promise I made during that campaign. I heard from every superintendent of schools and mayors. ‘Even if I don’t get all the money I want, get it to me on time, so I can plan accordingly.’” Lamont made his comments a day after meeting with legislative leaders, when it became clear to administration officials that a special session would offer the governor his best chance of convincing the General Assembly to accept a comprehensive system of highway tolls as the most reliable way finance overdue improvements to the state’s transportation infrastructure. Read More

Not all builder and trade associations endorse tolls Recent headlines in CTMirror read, “Builders, trades, launch new ad to push for tolls on CT highways.” The Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Connecticut (HBRA-CT) does not count itself among this coalition nor has it endorsed the implementation of tolls on our highways. HBRA-CT is a statewide trade association of small businesses whose members are responsible for 70 to 80 percent of all residential construction in Connecticut in a given year. While our association has not taken an official position on the tolls question, I would personally suggest policy makers to think long and hard about the potential ramifications to our industry and consequential impacts on housing accessibility and affordability before tolls are implemented.

Report: High Taxes, Mandates Hurt State’s Small Business Climate Connecticut’s small business climate ranks seventh worst in the country according to a new national study released this week. The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council ranked Connecticut 44th in its annual Small Business Policy Index, one spot worse than in 2018. The index ranks the 50 states according to 62 different policy measures, including taxes, regulatory burdens, state spending, and government debt. High taxes and fees and government red tape, which the council’s report said “drain enterprises of vital resources, distort decision-making and incentives, and redirect energies,” were key elements in the rankings. Connecticut fared poorly across a number of those metrics, with bottom 10 rankings for per capita government debt, state and local spending, energy costs, workers’ compensation premium costs, state and local tax rates, and business taxes. “Most small business owners have firsthand knowledge of the costs and burdens imposed by government,” the SBE Council report said.” Read More

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Click here to follow along with our legislative alerts MAY 2019 | HBRA of Fairfield County 31

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FROM THE STATE CEO By Jim Perras, CEO As I write this, 16 days remain until the close of the legislative session. Of the majority’s progressive agenda, only the $15 minimum wage bill has passed both the House and Senate and is now on its way to the Governor’s desk. Very little recent legislative action has been seen on bills to provide Paid Family & Medical Leave and to Legalize Marijuana. Efforts to expand casinos and sports betting have halted. The implementation of tolls has become the political hot potato of the session. Because of their small numbers, legislative republicans who have very little room to tactically maneuver have mounted an effective grassroots campaign in opposition to tolls. House and Senate Republicans have worked with coalitions to urge the passage of numerous municipal resolutions against tolls and have taken their message on the road, holding countless anti-toll rallies and townhall style meetings. With many new legislators from districts in south west Connecticut where opposition to tolls appears to be most prominent, it remains to be seen if these freshman legislators from these politically vulnerable districts will stick their necks out for a new Governor who doesn’t have much in the way of political capital to spend. And then there’s the budget. There is infighting in the Democrat party as to how to raise the revenues they need to implement their growing budget. The Governor would like to scrap all current exemptions to the sales tax. Notably, this would include existing exemptions for services including the repair and renovation of residential buildings, realtor and broker services, architecture services, interior design, among many others which the HBRACT advocated in strong opposition of. The progressive wing of the majority party views the expansion of the sales tax as regressive in nature, impacting those who can least afford it the most. Alternatively, the liberal democrats passed a spending bill that would increase the capital gains tax on top earners. The line has been drawn and many are predicting a long hot summer at the capitol. I continue to provide weekly updates regarding activities in Hartford. If you’d like to receive these updates or join our government affairs conference calls please e-mail the HBRACT at and we’ll add you to our distribution list.

32 HBRA of Fairfield County | MAY 2019

connecticut cottages & gardens

+ february 2019









The Price Of (Not) Training By: Dr. Donald E. Wetmore

As a full-time Certified Contractor Business Coach for the last twentyfive years, I have been asked so many times, “How much does your training cost?” I have learned to reply, “Would “no charge” be too much?” Training is not a cost. It’s an investment. It really doesn’t matter what we pay for an investment. What’s relevant is what we get in return. One of the best ways to jeopardize a company’s future in today’s world and increase the probability of troubled times is to look at training as a cost and pay the price of not training or provide substandard training that operates only as a Band-Aid for the training requirements. The most expensive training is often for the lowest bidder that does not deliver training that helps people to make changes to give an adequate return on the training dollars spent. Ineffective, inexperienced training at any cost is not a bargain. It’s a simple principle. An organization’s staff is where they are currently, in terms of competence and success, in direct relationship to what they know and how well they apply what they know. The more we learn and the more we apply what we learn, the greater our success and thereby, the company’s success will been.

Some like to quantify the results from training. Here’s a good example. A person being paid $50,000 per year who is wasting just one hour per day is costing the company $6,250 per year (excluding benefits, overhead, opportunity costs, etc.). If that person can learn how to re-capture just one productive hour per day, that translates into a payback to the organization of $6,250 per year. If there is a crew of 25 people involved in the same training and they all receive a similar benefit, the return to the organization is $156,250 per year. (And this does not include other benefits to the organization such as profitability, reduced turnover, improved morale, enhanced teamwork, better customer service, greater creativity, etc.) Over five years, the payback is $781,250. What should an organization invest to achieve that return and payback? Read More

34 HBRA of Fairfield County | MAY 2019

DEAR SALES COACH Dear Sales Coach, My customer service agents and front office staff are often uncomfortable answering questions about price of products and services on the phone. How can we help them? ~Matt V. Dear Matt, We have a great technique that helps your customer facing and support staff when handling uncomfortable issues such as price. It is called the Up-Front-Contract. Simply, the Up-Front Contract is a verbal agreement between two people. Its aim is to respect the agenda of both sides, establish agreement on the next steps, and determine what the next steps will look like. There are five steps: 1. Get the prospect’s agenda. Why are they calling? What do they need help with? 2. Give them your agenda. Let them know if you can help them and how you can help them. 3. Reach agreement on each other’s agenda. This is usually answered by a “Sounds good?” or “How does that sound?” 4. Agree on an amount of time for the next step. How long will the service call last? How long will the meeting with the sales person be? 5. Agree on any next steps. Will a proposal be written right away? What are the terms of the proposal? Will there be a charge for the service call? When will the proposal or service be performed. For a call to start well and end well, CSRs must initiate the conversation. Then, utilize the Up-Front Contract theory to start a solid process and eliminate any misunderstandings – on both sides – from the onset.

-Ed Ed Schultek

Ed began Sandler/PEAK with focus on medium and small size firms to Corporate organizations who must lift their Management and Sales competency to Win, improve their ability to lead others to change their future, and position themselves as the Trusted Advisor to their Clients above all others. Have a sales question? Email Ed at


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MAY 2019 | HBRA of Fairfield County 35


“Roberta goes above and beyond selling advertising. She stays in touch with us regarding editorial opportunities, invites us to high quality networking events, and makes email introductions between us and potential partners.”

—Kristen Sullivan, Gatehouse Partners

Contact Associate Publisher, Roberta Mancuso to learn how New England Home Connecticut can help generate business for your company. | 203.530.9593 36 HBRA of Fairfield County | MAY 2019


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