Dear Members,

I’m proud to be President of the HBAL this year. My family started in the housing business in Lincoln in the early 1900’s by starting a lumberyard and supplying lumber for the outward growth of the City. As an adjunct, my dad got into development creating a number of developments in the 70’s and 80’s. My uncle with my same initials, WF, was a charter member of HBAL. I’m a lawyer who concentrated on real estate law (mostly for real estate professionals) but as my adjunct activity I started developing low-income housing – one project at a time. Now with my son in the business we’ve done or are working on quite a few. With that having been said, I pledge to be an advocate for housing, affordable housing and housing affordability throughout this Presidential year.

A recent statistic from National Association of Home Builders cited the median purchase price for a new home in Lincoln is $341,000. (That means there are as many new houses costing less than $341,000 as there are costing more. And since you homebuilders know $275,000 is about the bottom price for new housing there must be a lot of homes priced between $275,000 and $341,000; you could have fooled me.) $341,000–shocking to someone who used to deliver lumber to a house that would sell for $20,000. Heck, I don’t know the price of a HUD 235 home back then, because back then I didn’t worry about buying a house. I was focused on buying gas at 30 cents a gallon. But now I am focused on making sure our community knows HBAL will be here to provide housing to Lincolnites amid: Covid 19; material supply and price issues; inevitably climbing interest rates; Canadian lumber tariffs and consequential and astronomical prices; needless government regulation—to name a few of our hurdles. If we can hold our median price I’d be delighted.

Our industry should have one focus which is housing all Lincolnites: rich and poor, of all races and ethnicities, able or disabled and disregarding any gender or lifestyle issues. Our jobs are to build homes where an individual can live his or her private life which I would say is his or her business. So, in my personal view, I urge all to support the equality ordinance. Decline to sign. Equal opportunity for everyone in Lincoln is the right thing.