News & Press: News


Friday, July 24, 2020  


The Houston Contractors Association held its 9th annual Developers Forum Luncheon on June 25th at the Houston Junior League.  HCA had the honor of hosting Jeff Dewese, Vice President of The Signorelli Company, Land Division; Mike Miller, Vice President of Houston Ashlar Development; and Scott Davis, President of Location Strategy, LLC.  We also want to thank Jim Russ of EHRA for serving as our moderator for the event. 

First to present was Jeff Dewese, Vice President of The Signorelli Company, Land Division.  Dewese stated that The Signorelli Company has ten development projects for the year 2020.  These developments consist of single family, mixed use, recreational, and commercial projects.  Eight of these projects are located north of Houston in Kingwood, New Caney, Cleveland, and Conroe.  Two of the projects are located south west of Houston. 

Of the eight northern developments, Dewese focused on Valley Ranch, a 1,400-acre master plan community that is at the intersection of Interstate-69 and the Grand Parkway Toll Road.  The Valley Ranch twelve-month project development costs total $96.1 million.  Dewese stated that this project will feature an entertainment district, commerce district, self-storage, medical district, marketplace, multi-family, and a parkway expansion.

Next, we had Mike Miller, Vice President of Houston Ashlar Development present.  Miller stated that Ashlar has four developments: Belterra, Nichols Vale, Wildridge, and The Groves.  This last project was the focus of Miller’s presentation.  The Groves is located north east of Houston proper in the Atascocita neighborhood, off West Lake Houston Drive and north east of Beltway 8.  This master-planned community was designed to embrace the natural piney woods it is built around, creating an outdoor enthusiast’s ideal neighborhood. 

Miller stated that this development also features amenities specifically designed for both kids and adults.  There is a fishing pond, baseball and soccer fields, an adaptive sports complex designed for children with disabilities, pool splashpad, and multiple playgrounds.  For the adults, there is the Lifestyle Center with a state-of-the-art gym, resort-style pool, and The Yard: a beer-garden style space for adults to mingle and unwind. 

The final speaker was Scott Davis, President of Location Strategy, LLC.  Davis explained how covid-19 has affected the housing market.  In comparison, new home sales in 2020 were consistently out pacing the previous year, often by 200 homes.  Then, in April of 2020 the housing sales dropped significantly; sales slightly increased in May, but still lower numbers than May of 2019 sales; and then in June of 2020, new home sales returned to higher numbers than June of 2019.  Davis succinctly stated, “Sales dropped in April, but a recovery started in May.”

April’s decrease in new home sales was a month after the WHO declared covid-19 a pandemic, President Donald Trump declares covid-19 a national emergency, and states began issuing stay-at-home orders.  Not only were the monthly average of sales affected, but Davis explained that the average closing price of homes dramatically dropped as well.  In February of 2020, the average home cost $335,000, whereas February of 2019, the average home cost roughly $355,000.  From February to April of 2020, the price was steadily increasing before crashing again in May. 

In closing, Davis stated that rural areas surrounding Houston have seen a large increase in sales.  He explained that families, both young and old, are increasingly moving away from Houston and the immediate suburbs to remote areas.  This change is at an increasing rate from previous years and Davis attributes that shift to a reaction to covid-19.  

As always, the Houston Contractors Association is glad to host these informative luncheons for our members.  We want to thank our luncheon sponsors for this year’s Developers Forum: ATAB Insurance Services, LLC; Doggett Heavy Machinery Services; Gulf Coast Stabilized Materials, and West Mermis, PLLC.