Pat Nelson is the executive vice president of the Home Builders Association of Mississippi (HBAM), a position he has held since October 2020.
He earned a Bachelor of Science in engineering from Mississippi State University and an MBA from Tulane University.
Nelson had a 38-year career with Entergy Corp, including an assignment in Melbourne, Australia. He retired as regional customer service manager.
Nelson represented DeSoto County for four years in the Mississippi Legislature. The elimination of state vehicle inspections was among legislation he wrote.
He was named Man of the Year in Southaven in 2000. Nelson is a Rotarian and a member of First United Methodist Church in Brookhaven.
He is married to Sally Burchfield Doty, a former state senator who is the executive director of the Mississippi Public Utilities Staff. They are the parents of four daughters and a son.
What is the purpose of the Home Builders Association of Mississippi?
“We are the advocates for homebuilding professionals at the local, state and federal level. That is our primary mission. Our advocacy can be at the federal level dealing with higher lumber prices to the local level where an ordinance is causing builders problems. It’s a bit of all of that.”
“Our association is also an opportunity for builders to get to know each other, work together and improve themselves professionally. Our associate members, who are subcontractors, lumber yards, home design groups and architects have monthly meetings to talk about business-related topics or community projects.”
Have lumber prices come down any from what they were earlier in the year?
“Lumber prices peaked about a month ago and seem to be coming down pretty rapidly but they’re still quite a bit higher than a year ago. The prices seem to be stabilizing right. That’s great news for homebuyers. Lumber prices had bumped up prices for typical home by as much as $30,000. Home prices are coming back down as a reflection of lumber prices coming back in line.
“It’s just as important for remodelers and people renovating a home. There are so many components in a home, so much of it is composed of wood whether it’s cabinets, the side boards on the house or the plywood on the roof to the doors to the windows.”
Are some building materials still in short supply?
“During the coronavirus pandemic, availability has been a problem. Shingles, lumber, stoves, refrigerators, microwaves, clothes washers and dryers have been in short supply. The electronic components came from China and there’s a lot of backlog in delivery of clothes washers, dryers, stoves, refrigerators, cooktops and air conditioning units. We are starting to see some of that ease.
“A lot of the appliances are made in the U.S., but the electronic components were primarily coming from China. When China shut down for a year there were a lot of appliances sitting in factories but didn’t have the final components so they could be delivered.”
What impact have low interest rates had on home building?
“Interest rates are at a historical low. Interest rates are so low right now that people can get a lot more house for the money than they’ve ever been able to get even with higher lumber prices.
“Rising lumber prices and availability of appliances did slow down things somewhat, but it’s picked back up in the last two or three weeks. It looks like it will be back to normal soon.
“The home building industry is 28 percent of the Gross National Product of this country. Home building affects so many jobs, so many people. When home building is good the economy of the country is good. We feel like the improvement in home building and return to normal will affect in a positive way the national economy and our state’s economy as well.”
What advice do you have for someone building a home?
“Use a licensed builder. A licensed builder has to take certain tests to prove he or she understands how to build a house. Certified professional builders are certified through Mississippi Housing Institute, an arm of our association that we work through. A certified professional builder must jump through a lot of hoops to get that designation. You can find a list of certified professional builders and licensed builders on our website at www.hbam.com.
Is there anything a consumer who has not built a home may not realize about the process?
“They will be amazed by the number of selections they have to make from the type of appliances they want to the doorknobs and the hinges. There are many decisions that need to be made often on a short turn around.”
Is HBAM part of a national group?
“The Home Builders Association of Mississippi is affiliated with 14 local home builder associations and the National Home Association of Home Builders, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C.
How many members does HBAM have?
“Around 1,400 members. Just under half of our members are home builders and the rest are suppliers, home designers, architects, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, people who work with homebuilders.”
How old is HBAM?
“We were formed in 1961. We just celebrated our 60th anniversary at our state convention during which the governor was our keynote speaker and we inducted new members into our Housing Hall of Fame, which was established in 1988 to honor men and women who have made significant and lasting contributions to housing in Mississippi, the building industry and Home Builders Association of Mississippi.”
How many people across the country are employed in home building?
In the U.S. there are 10.7 million people employed directly and indirectly in home building.