It's been more than 13 years since the housing industry faced this kind of uncertainty.
It's been more than 13 years since the housing industry faced this kind of uncertainty. The economy still seems on fairly solid ground, but a lot of builders have sweaty palms and heart palpitations. They are the ones who remember1992. The worry is how many don't.
The big public builders should be ready for anything. Their balance sheets have never been stronger. But if the market really dives, leveraged land and spec inventory will be the wild cards nobody wants. That's why we put the chart with the Giants' spec building records on this page.
It now looks like a good bet that 2006 will not break any sales records. Can the big publics deal with that? "I don't think they have any idea how much pressure will be on their margins if the market goes into the deep freeze," says Credit Suisse stock analyst Ivy Zelman. "These guys won't decelerate land purchases the way Wall Street thinks — because they don't want to forego growth."
|View Additional 2006 Giant 400 Report Articles:|
|Topping Out or Just A Pause?|
|Publics Diversify Products|
|High-Rise Fraught with Risk|
|Public v. Private Debate Continues|
|Publics' Profits at Peak|
|Even Small Private Builders Can Compete|
|What Happens Next?|