In 2006, while Clark Ivory was serving as the CEO of Ivory Homes he was also sitting on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, where he worked for former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen. During that time, he saw the beginnings of trouble for the U.S. economy and for housing in particular.
“I went down to Arizona and Nevada to check things out and I was shocked to go through all these subdivisions of 40 or 50 homes and not one was being lived in,” recalls Ivory, CEO Of Salt Lake City-based Ivory Homes. “They were all purchased by people that were going to flip them.” Ivory warned anyone who would listen, paid off his credit lines, and moved his company from building single-family dwellings to townhouses.
After surviving the crash and using accumulated cash to improve his land position, Ivory checked out of Utah for a three-year mission with the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints (LDS) in Moldova, Romania, where he kept an eye on the U.S. housing market. He returned from Europe earlier this year, resumed his responsibilities as CEO, crunched some housing numbers, and decided that affordable housing in the U.S. needed an innovative shot in the arm.