The building industry has weathered some difficult challenges over the past fifteen years, from the Great Recession of 2007-2008 to the pandemic of 2019-2021. HBAV has been instrumental in helping the industry fight through the tough times, and we will need your help as we face new challenges. While not unique to the building industry, finding skilled people to build our homes has gotten much harder. We do not have enough young people who want to be involved in the building industry to replace the skilled trades who are retiring in large numbers. The many trade schools and programs across the state do a great job of helping teach young adults the skills they will need to be successful in building and trades. Our trade schools need support, and our industry needs to be able to attract new, young talent. I would like to see HBAV find a way to better fund our Education Foundation so that we can support the trade schools and programs to make sure we get more than our share of new talent. Young talented people are a finite resource, and we cannot succeed without them.
Perhaps our biggest challenge is affordability. New mandates and requirements along with higher costs for building materials and labor have led to new construction being so expensive that it is out of reach for so many Virginians. Higher mortgage rates have compounded the problem. As an industry, we cannot succeed if more and more people can no longer afford our homes. We must find ways to reduce the burdens and costs that make new homes less affordable.
Challenges can also be opportunities to effect change and to create positive outcomes. Please join me in helping HBAV so that we can serve our industry and our businesses and turn our challenges into opportunities for success.