While housing starts fell last month across the United States, one region saw an increase: the Midwest. And standing out in the Midwest is Ryland Homes' Illinois division. In a "Conference Room" interview with FBN’s Jeff Flock, Ryland Homes Illinois Division President John Carroll shares how the company has been able to find success in a slow recovery. Carroll says Ryland has restarted three housing communities that had been shut down during the recession – and it’s approaching the projects with a fresh perspective. For starters, Carroll says the company is choosing neighborhoods that were relatively strong, even during the recession. “What I’ve taken ... the approach is that neighborhoods and communities that were stronger in the good times will also be strong as the market continues to return,” says Carroll, speaking about Huntley in particular.Sales Expectations and New Trends In this recovery, Carroll says he has adjusted his expectations. While three or four sales a week might have been great prior to the recession, Carroll says the company is pleased with that same number in a month. “It’s a good solid number … you can build on that, you can make the numbers work and you can be profitable,” says Carroll. The company is also finding success in rethinking old concepts, such as active adult communities. “Active adults want to go,” says Carroll, discussing Ryland’s “Andare” communities. (Andare means “to go” in Italian.) Aside from active adult programming, Ryland is innovating with “Andare” by loosening the typical restrictions these types of communities have for children. “If an active adult here wants to take their child to the pool here, it’s no problem, it’s not restrictive,” says Carroll. Carroll says the change represents the shift in American families across the United States. “Today’s family could be a single mom who has a teenager who lives with her parents, and if you don’t allow for that flexibility within your rules in your active adult community … you’re shutting that buyer out!,” says Carroll.
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