This month’s issue includes stories about three unfilled market niches that are significant opportunities for builders: culturally aware housing, live-work housing, and Missing Middle Housing.
News & Moves: December 10, 2008
News on the people and events that shape our industry
Jeffrey S. Hoza is the new vice president, treasurer for Beazer Homes. He previously worked for Wachovia Securities as a director in the real-estate division. He was with Wachovia Securities for 13 years.
The new chief financial officer and senior vice president, Russell Devendorf, will come to WCI Communities, which is under federal bankruptcy protection, in December from an Arizona-based company. He previously worked for Meritage Homes and Technical Olympic USA.
The Maryland Attorney General announced that the Consumer Protection Division has reached a settlement with Smart Development/Premiere Homes, based in Rockville, Md. Earlier this year, the Consumer Protection Division filed charges against the home builder, alleging that its building contracts contained illegal clauses that it used to terminate its building contracts with consumers. According to the agency, under the settlement, Premiere Homes has agreed to remove the cancellation clause from its contracts. In addition, the home builder will pay the agency restitution of $925,000. The company and its owner also agreed to pay $75,000 for its costs and a penalty.
NAHB CEO Jerry Howard went on MarketWatch radio to appeal to congress to solve the housing crisis. Listen as Howard gives suggestions for the next stimulus package, including a tax credit similar to that in the 1970s.
Indianapolis-based C.P. Morgan is pulling out of the Peidmont Triad market in North Carolina, reports The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area. The Peidmont Triad is the Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point area of North Carolina. The 25 homes still under construction in the area will be completed.
Mattamy Homes, the Oakville, Ontario-based juggernaut of Canadian home building icon Peter Gilgan, is buying land in troubled U.S. housing markets, flexing its muscle with a bold move to expand market share while land prices are depressed and backed by the firm's successes in Canada, where the housing market had been relatively unscathed until the past few months.
Steve Parker, once part of the management team that took Morrison Homes from 1,000 closings a year to 5,000 in less than six years during the 1990s, is now president of Winter Park, Fla.-based Mattamy Homes USA. The firm checked in at No. 117 in Professional Builder's Giant 400 Rankings. And Parker and vice president of sales and marketing Laura Bailey have set a goal to match Morrison's past success by pushing Mattamy to 5,000 U.S. closings a year within the next five years.
It's no idle threat. Mattamy is looking at land in Tampa and pouncing on parcels all over central Florida, with construction starting within 90 days. And Mattamy hired former Mercedes Homes vice president of construction Glen Kirwan to lead its production operations in central Florida.
Mattamy built its growth in Canada on a solid reputation for quality and service, winning several builder of the year awards. It has U.S. operations in Minneapolis; Charlotte, N.C.; and Phoenix; as well as Orlando and Jacksonville, Fla. It has already won J.D. Power awards for customer satisfaction in Toronto, Minneapolis and Charlotte.
In Canada, where the company's total revenues are said to exceed $1 billion a year, Mattamy is now expanding. However, Parker is quoted in a recent press release, “Today, Mattamy Homes is a Canadian builder that also builds in the U.S. Hopefully, between five and six years from now, we'll be a U.S. home builder that also builds in Canada.” — Bill Lurz
Watch this news clip from the Associated Press on the details of the government's rejecting tougher mortgage rules in 2005.
The news buyers like to hear: mortgage rates are dropping. At the end of November, mortgage rates were 5.81 percent. The news clip from KGET-TV Bakersfield has the details. Watch the first video in the loop.
Dallas-based Trammell Crow Co. will shutter offices in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla., by January 2009. The company cited lack of credit for new real-estate development projects. Existing projects will continue under Shaun W. Frankfurt, an executive with Trammell Crow in Oklahoma. Frankfurt will work out of Chicago.
KB Home is being sued by the Vallejo school district in Vallejo, Calif. According to The Times-Herald, the school district says KB Home owe them $3 million for a 2006 land purchase totaling $17.5 million. Company representatives could not be reached for comment.