Vancouver, Washington-based Holt Homes has been recognized as the Biggest Mover on the 2022 Builder 100, jumping 37 spots to break into the top 100 in the No. 85 spot. The builder, founded more than three decades ago, provides homes for families in Oregon and Southwest Washington, primarily serving first-time and move-up home buyers.
The groundwork for Holt Homes’ success and growth in 2021—increasing new-home closings by 265 year over year and revenue by over $110 million—was “years in the making,” according to chief operating officer Rian Tuttle. Beginning in 2013, the company started building a strong lot pipeline in the Pacific Northwest at a time when other builders were selling land.
“There was just a recognition that [the Pacific Northwest] was a vibrant place to call home and the market would eventually recover, and, in having this strong long-term land pipeline, we had a real opportunity for a long future in the region, regardless of what the market was doing at the time, ” Greg Kubicek, founder and CEO, says of Holt’s strategy in 2013.
Tuttle says Holt Homes’ preparation for long-term growth allowed the company to handle the large boom in demand in 2021 while also remaining disciplined “in putting the right team and resources to support that growth.”
“Our strength lies in setting a clear ambition but being nimble and responsive in terms of how we achieve it—especially in the back half of last year when we were pounded by supply chain issues, labor shortages, and weather challenges,” Tuttle says. “The flexibility and entrepreneurial spirit that resulted from coming up as a locally focused, regional builder has stayed with us and has worked to our advantage as we’ve grown.”
Tuttle says Holt Homes leaned into its local relationships during the supply chain challenges and was able to find alternate solutions when shortages arose in 2021. For example, when the builder saw a run on soaking tubs, Holt Homes modified some of its architecture and floor plans to include free-standing tubs.
“We talk a lot about home building being a team sport, and 2021 took every ounce of all the teams and all the partners to make it happen,” adds Kubicek.
In addition to growth in new-home closings and revenue, Holt Homes also grew its team by 33% in 2021, continuing to make investments into its people and culture. The builder retooled its marketing efforts to highlight company culture, internal awareness, and pride as a Pacific Northwest builder and implemented technologies, tools, and resources designed to help retain talent as the team experienced growth. Dave Templeton, senior vice president of home building at Holt Homes, says empowering employees at the front-line level was one of the keys to the builder’s growth and success in 2021.
“[People at the front-line level] know our business better than anyone,” Templeton says. “The business of our business is done at the community customer-facing level. By empowering them to make decisions, we can better service our customers and our industry partners in an ever-changing environment.”
According to Tuttle, the investment in people will continue to remain a top priority for the company. He says a strong focus on the training and developing of team members will enable Holt Homes to better position the company and its partners to meet projections and overall market needs.
Looking ahead to 2022 and beyond, Templeton says Holt Homes is focused on continuing to expand its footprint in the Pacific Northwest and “getting better as we get bigger.”
“Operationally that means: focusing on process discipline, efficiency of product, and an even flow of production that will allow both Holt and our partners and suppliers to better project labor and material needs,” Templeton says.
In January 2022, Holt Homes was acquired by Japanese home builder Sekisui House. As part of Sekisui House, it will have access to capital and technology to help accelerate the company’s growth plan and enhance its ability to service its growing customer base.
“[The partnership with Sekisui House] is also founded on a shared philosophy and desire to create customers for life, which means prioritizing both the end product and the customer experience we provide along the way,” Tuttle says. “The aim is to replicate our current success by further growing our presence in Portland Metro and Southwest Washington, and expanding into other markets within the Pacific Northwest.”