Rochester sees increase in female home builders as industry rebounds

Kristi Dellaria, the owner of Bella Homes, got her start in the housing industry flipping old homes. Credit: Carlos Ortiz/Rochester Democrat & ChronicleKristi Dellaria, the owner of Bella Homes, got her start in the housing industry flipping old homes. Credit: Carlos Ortiz/Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

Women are having a big impact on the housing market in Rochester, New York, and not in the traditional sense. The city has seen a sizable increase in the number of home development firms led by women.

According to a report from the Democrat & Chronicle, two of the seven homes recently shown at a showcase for a new subdivision development were built by companies led by women.

Some of the women entering home building are leaving high-level or well-paying positions elsewhere, seeing the opportunity in a rebounding industry.

As of June, home starts in the U.S. were up 7.5 percent year-over-year at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 893,000, according to preliminary data from the Commerce Department.

One of the companies featured in the showcase mentioned above is Bella Homes, led by Kristi Dellaria. Dellaria started the company while working full-time as a mortgage broker. Back then, she was simply remodeling old homes and flipping them. Eventually though, her reputation spread and people building new homes began to seek her design skill.

Rick Herman, the CEO of the Rochester Home Builders’ Association says he and his members have taken notice at the increased number of women entering the industry. Herman says that since he joined the association 17 years ago, the number of women members has increased from one to seven. And while that number is still small, it still has the members talking.