William Levitt Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

William Levitt


The Levitt was originally dealing in the real estate business. The idea was implemented when Bill Levitt, the elder brother and Alfred Levitt along with their father, Abraham Levitt, established the “Levitt & Sons” to build houses on the property that Abraham received for handling a client’s foreclosure.

Personality characteristic(s) of William Levitt

William Levitt, also known as Bill Levitt had very different personality characteristics. The Levitts appreciated learning but not Bill. He dropped out of NYU in his junior year because he thought it was a waste of time. According to his theory, schooling and education did not provide him necessary skills and knowledge through which he can become financially successful. This theory enabled him to become an entrepreneur and focus on earning money.

Along with that, he was a long-term thinker. When no one was buying the land far away from the city, he was the one to force his brother to exercise the option and buy the land which was later used for construction.

Initial formation of the Levitt & Sons; what product type did they originally build/develop and what encouraged them to make the switch to a different product type?

The personality characteristics of William Levitt were clearly reflected in the type of product that they used to build that is “Luxury homes”. The main product salient was the services that they offered along with the home to make it look attractive and worthwhile, along with that, the company also focused on selling through marketing its product properly through efficient media.

The social changes in the society and the government implications and interventions in term of new laws and regulations particularly imposed on the real estate pressurized the real estate development firms to look out for other opportunities that can help them to survive and continue the earnings through this business.

The economy of the country and the earning level of its people were severely affected because of the World War II (WWII). Thus, most of them could not afford the type of luxury homes that were built by the Levitt & Sons. This encouraged them to make the switch to a different product type that is the “Value Homes”.

What was the Levitt really “selling?”  Note some of the “careful company-sponsored market research.”

Seemingly, the Levitt was selling the real estate houses. But what actually lied behind the wall was the selling of dreams of the veterans of the new and personal home which they did not want to share with the crowd that they used to live with after returning from the World War.

The veterans wanted a house of their own in which they can start a family and raise their children peacefully. The houses contained the materials which were considered a level above the basic necessity. The idea of a luxury home was converted and fulfilled by the value homes which they could afford.

William Levitt gathered the data, during the war, of what the American Service man actually wanted in terms of their living standards. He then implemented the same while developing homes for them. After the first construction of Cape Codders finished, the Levitt planned to build the new ranch on the basis of the needs of customers and according to their tastes that started developing by then. The Levitt invested a huge amount of money on market research so that it can identify the emerged tastes of its customers.

This makes it clear that the Levitt was selling needs not just houses. He was trying to fill the shortage in the society while being profitable at the same time.

Demand vs. supply of housing post-WW II

There was a housing shortage in the immediate post-world war II era. The demand for housing was so high that the living standards of the citizens fell down sharply. Government had to establish Quonset huts and military barracks for the people. As many as nine people were living in three rooms. A family of six was forced to live at different places because of the shortages of homes. To the height, a coupled started living at the window shop so that some landlord could lend them an apartment. This was the highest extent of desperation for a home in which people could live.

There was an immense shortage of supply of value houses. Affordable houses were scarce.  Couples who were newly married and were to have children, needed houses the most. Most of the divorces were claimed to be the result of crowded homes and a shortage in the supply of homes.

Government policies promulgated which helped create housing post-WW II

The government developed laws to fulfill the rights of the veterans regardless of race, station or creed. The government declared that every American family has the right to have a decent home and job so that they can afford their basic necessities for themselves and their families................

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