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2020 Housing Giants List

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Housing Giants

2020 Housing Giants List

Each annual Housing Giants list is a snapshot in time of builders’ perceived opportunities and challenges. This year is no exception, but the challenges that have emerged are unprecedented


By Pro Builder staff June 3, 2020
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This article first appeared in the May/June 2020 issue of Pro Builder.

 

Chronicling the Housing Industry

For more than 50 years now, Pro Builder has been publishing its Housing Giants list and, in doing so, has chronicled housing’s ups and downs. For an industry generally looked upon as staid and conservative, the last half century—especially the last two decades—has been a wild ride. After scaling previously unthinkable peaks in 2005 and then plummeting to its depths in 2012, home building fought its way back to what looked to be a sustainable, profitable undertaking.

Then, in 2019, housing data started showing the fruits of the industry’s labors. In December, annual housing starts reached a remarkable 1.626 million units (seasonally adjusted), the largest number of starts in 13 years.

In January 2020, starts increased 21.4% year over year. Total permits, single- and multifamily, rose by 9.2% to 1.551 million—the highest since March 2007. At the beginning of March 2020, when February’s numbers came out, housing continued to look strong, the good news continuing with the eighth consecutive month of increasing home sales, to 6.7% year over year nationally.

But by that time the COVID-19 virus had taken hold, and on March 13 the U.S. declared a national emergency. While most states deemed home building to be an essential business, the effects of stay-at-home orders, the number of businesses closing, and the job losses that ensued kept many Americans from shopping for a new home. Once again, home building stats experienced a precipitous drop.

Each Housing Giants list is a snapshot in time and this one is no exception. This year’s survey was conducted in early 2020 and its results, especially builders’ perceived opportunities and challenges, reflect the perspective of that time.


2020 HOUSING GIANTS QUICK DATA DIVE

  • Consolidation remains a key growth driver among the Housing Giants' top 20, which increased their market share from 20% to 24% and closed 72,000 more units than the previous year—a 23% leap—while those below them on the list remained basically flat year over year.
  • 2019 was the best year yet since the Great Recession for Pro Builder’s Giants, with a 6.3% bump in home building revenue and more than 63,000 additional units closed or completed compared with 2018.

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