In looking ahead to 2013, we asked builders who placed in the middle of the pack in our survey about the lessons they learned from the downturn, and how they are applying that information to future opportunities.
Whenever industry ranks are published, an inordinate amount of time is spent focusing on the top of the list. Granted, the builders at the front of Professional Builder’s Housing Giants survey enjoy a disproportionate share of influence in the industry because of their size. But the sheer volume of their transactions can obscure finer business points as the housing market emerges from a downturn rife with important takeaways.
The Corky McMillin Companies
San Diego, Calif.
Housing Giants rank: 103
Housing Giants rank: 132
Coral Springs, Fla.
Housing Giants rank: 94
Centerline Homes saw the housing crash coming and started positioning itself in mid-2006 to be “able to weather the storm with low leverage and a better balance sheet,” says CEO Craig Perry.
Wathen Castanos Hybrid Homes
Housing Giants rank: 154
While many builders slashed their prices to stay competitive during the downturn, Wathen Castanos Hybrid Homes went back and reassessed value. As a result, the company instituted a new product series targeted toward the re-sale market, says President Mike Nimon.
Housing Giants rank: 104
Betenbough Homes, described by President Rick Betenbough as a “value builder” serving three markets in West Texas, found competing with resales increasingly difficult.
San Ramon, Calif.
Housing Giants rank: 86
SummerHill Homes, a builder of higher-end houses in the San Francisco area, currently sells in four communities and plans to open a new community this year in Sunnyvale. The front two acres of the Las Palmas infill site on El Camino will be sold off for a hotel, and SummerHill will construct 103 townhomes in the back part, says CEO and president Robert Freed, who calls it a classic Silicon Valley higher-density infill site.
Denham Springs, La.
Housing Giants rank: 46
DSLD Homes, which builds in Louisiana and Mississippi, doesn’t plan on doing anything differently in 2013 as the national housing outlook improves, says managing partner Saun Sullivan.
TRI Pointe Homes
Housing Giants rank: 108
TRI Pointe Homes, another California builder, typically starts a project with eight to 12 specs, says CEO Doug Bauer. After some of those homes have sold, the company then embarks on another eight- to 12-unit phase.