It was not a good year for builders. Some, in fact, have taken up new addresses in other states in the quest for more building.

While some may look at this in a negative light, Dave Harvey, president of the Home Builders Association of Greater Salt Lake, points out a few of the positive points."Right now new-home construction costs are low, as low as I've seen them," he points out.

"What makes it possible for them (builders) to be competitive is that within the past year we've had a sizeable number of contractors and subcontractors move out of the state to look for work. The buyer's market has helped what builders there are. Their share of the market has improved.

"And what builders are left are the stable ones. They know the red tape of the building business and have been around for quite a few years. The ones that are here are on pretty solid footing."

Ultimately this has led to some changes in building, all to the advantage of the consumer. Among them are the use of new materials, the building of a more striking home to lure buyers into the market and lower prices.

Part of the credit for these developments in the home market must be directed to the HBA. Among its many duties is to help educate builders to what's new on the market and what's going on outside the state.

Other responsibilities includes settling disputes, making sure builders have ready access to government regulations, and to keep them informed about what the market it doing both in Utah and elsewhere.

It has, says Harvey, "been a big help in keeping us abreast of what is happening . . . and how to improve."

Looking towards the futures, Harvey believes that the new-home market will change directions within the next years. He says he's already seeing it. More and more people are coming out of apartment living and planting roots into a new home.

Also, he points to a possible shortage of developed lots in the future. Because of the sagging market the past couple of years, there has been a limited number of lots being developed. Those being sold, he says, "are the ones that were developed a couple of years ago."

Among the other responsibilities, HBA is a watchdog over legislative bills that might concern the building industry. Those that would be detrimental are vigorously opposed by the group.

It also offers to qualified builders a Home Owners Warranty program that saves time and red tape.

It, too, offers educational seminars on a variety of subjects, all geared to helping builders and associate members in their business.

Other officers in the organization include Dan Lofgren as 1st vice president, Gene Peterson as 2nd vice president, Brad Stone as associate vice president, Kent Anderson as secretary/treasurer, Phil Webb as Showcase Chairman, Jay Rindlisbacker as co-Showcase Chairman, Anne Burns as executive officer of HBA and Cal Sutherland as coordinator of the HBA.