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Flanders & Homsy to Receive Lifetime Achievement Awards

Homeownership Rates Drop to Historic Lows; Middle Class Feels the Strain of Rising Rents



Flanders & Homsy to Receive
Lifetime Achievement Awards

The International Casual Furnishings Association has announced that Dudley Flanders and Buzz Homsy are the 2015 recipients of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Dudley Flanders
Flanders founded Lloyd Flanders with his father, Don, in 1982, and Homsy is co-owner and founder of California Backyard, a five-store retail operation based in Sacramento, California.    

Dudley Flanders.

Flanders started working for Flanders Manufacturing immediately following his graduation from college in 1974. The Fort Smith, Arkansas-based case goods company was founded by his father and mother in 1954 and sold to Riverside Furniture in 1969. A year later they founded Flanders Industries after purchasing a metal outdoor and commercial furniture manufacturing company.

In 1982, Flanders and his father acquired the Lloyd division of Heywood Wakefield Company, which produced wicker furniture on the unique Lloyd Loom, patented by Marshall B. Lloyd in 1917. They founded Lloyd Flanders, which would become one of the country’s leading producers of casual furniture. Flanders has served as president of the company since 1983 and as CEO since 1991.

He served as chairman of the Summer and Casual Furniture Manufacturers Association (SCFMA) from 2002 to 2004 and chaired the committee that helped oversee the organization’s transition to the International Casual Furnishings Association in 2008. He then served as ICFA’s first chairman from 2008 to 2010, and remained on the Board of Directors through 2013. He also served on nearly every committee within SCFMA and ICFA. In all, Flanders served on the SCFMA and ICFA boards for over 10 years.       

Outside the industry, Flanders is a dedicated volunteer, having served on the United Way Board, the Cancer Support Foundation Board, the Employers Health Coalition, the Westark Area Council of the Boy Scouts and the Board of Trustees for Lyon College. He is also a founding board member of the Arkansas Valley Habitat for Humanity, and under his leadership 100 houses were built in his community.

Buzz Homsy
Buzz Homsy operates four stores in Northern California and one in Nevada. The operation, which offers outdoor furniture, barbecues, hot tubs and seasonal merchandise, began with a single store in Roseville, California, in 1989. Prior to California Backyard, Homsy operated Pool, Patio ’n Things, a chain of eight stores plus several franchises, throughout Northern California, Oregon and Colorado.          

Buzz Homsy.

In the early 1980s, Homsy was among the founding members of the Casual Furniture Retailers Association, an association that merged with SCFMA as part of the transition to ICFA. He also created the Casual Classics Group, a retail buying group that now has members representing over 150 stores. Homsy’s passion for collaboration and sharing ideas to better serve consumers continues today through ICFA’s retail roundtables.

Flanders and Homsy will be honored during the ICFA Awards Gala at The Field Museum on September 18, during the Casual Market Chicago.


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Homeownership Rates Drop to Historic Lows;
Middle Class Feels the Strain of Rising Rents

Harvard Research Center:“The State of the Nation’s Housing 2015”

The fledgling U.S. housing recovery lost momentum last year as homeownership rates continued to fall, single-family construction remained near historic lows, and existing home sales cooled, concludes “The State of the Nation’s Housing report.

In contrast, rental markets continued to grow, fueled by another large increase in the number of renter households. However, with rents rising and incomes well below pre-recession levels, the U.S. is also seeing record numbers of cost-burdened renters, including more renter households higher up the income scale.

“Perhaps the most telling indicator of the state of the nation’s housing is the drop in the homeownership rate to just 64.5 percent last year,” says Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies. “This erases nearly all of the increase from the previous two decades. In fact, the number of homeowners fell for the eighth straight year, and the trend does not appear to be abating.”

The flip side of falling homeownership rates has been exceptionally strong demand for rental housing, with the 2010s on pace to be the strongest decade for renter growth in history. While soaring demand is often attributed to the Millennials’ preference to rent, households aged 45–64 in fact accounted for about twice the share of renter growth as households under the age of 35. Similarly, households in the top half of the income distribution, although generally more likely to own, contributed 43 percent of the growth in renters.

The other byproduct of this surge in rental demand is that the national vacancy rate fell to its lowest point in nearly 20 years. Given the limited supply of rental units, rents rose at a 3.2 percent rate last year – twice the pace of overall inflation.

“To meet this demand, construction started on more multifamily units in 2014 than in any year since 1989,” says Daniel McCue, a senior research associate at the Joint Center. “And if job growth continues to pick up, we could see even more demand, as young adults increasingly move out of their parents’ homes and into their own apartments.”

Even before the Great Recession, the number of cost-burdened households (those paying more than 30 percent of income for housing) was on the rise. But while the cost-burdened share of homeowners began to recede in 2010 (because some homes were lost to foreclosure, and low interest rates helped other homeowners reduce their monthly costs), the cost-burdened share of renters has held near record highs. In 2013, almost half of all renters had housing cost burdens, including more than a quarter with severe burdens (paying more than 50 percent of income for housing).

But perhaps most troubling, cost burdens are climbing the income ladder, affecting growing shares of not just low-income renters but moderate- and middle-income renters as well. The cost-burdened share of renters with incomes in the $30,000 – $45,000 range rose to 45 percent between 2003 and 2013, while one in five renters earning $45,000 – $75,000 are now cost-burdened as well.

“While affordability for moderate income renters is hitting some cities and regions harder than others, an acute shortage of affordable housing for lowest-income renters is being felt everywhere,” says Herbert. “Between the record level of rent burdens and the plunging homeownership rate, there is a pressing need to prioritize the nation’s housing challenges in policy debates over the coming year if the country is to make progress toward the national goal of secure, decent and affordable housing for all.”

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