In the first quarter of fiscal 2016, Lennar opened 62 communities, bringing its total to 684. CalAtlantic Group opened 55 for a total of 567. D.R. Horton’s 39 divisions currently operate in 79 markets in 26 states, and the company is seeing particularly strong growth in its Southeast region, where home building revenue was up 20 percent through the six months that endedMarch 31.
The relentless pursuit of land and customers among national builders consumes much of the oxygen in many of the country’s markets. Horton, Lennar, CalAtlantic, or Pulte rank first or second in active communities in 34 of the top 50 markets, according to Meyers Research data through early April. These data also show, however, that well-capitalized regional builders are still competing—and in several places excelling—with the right combinations of price points, house designs, and customer service. Aspen View Homes, in Colorado Springs, Colo., Kolter Homes, in Fort Myers, Fla., and Williams Homes, in Ventura, Calif., are among the regionals that are outpacing local, often bigger, competitors in monthly unit sales.
National builders may dominate Las Vegas, but newcomer Century Communities, which entered in 2014 through its acquisition of Dunhill Homes’ assets, is now looking at nearly doubling its sales this year, to 500 from 265 in 2015, according to Century’s Nevada division president Don Boettcher.
It would appear that many builders in all but a handful of regions are exiting, or at least minimizing, multifamily construction, which for much of the last seven years has driven the housing industry’s growth but is finally tapering off, based on permit projections. The Census Bureau estimates that, nationally, permits for structures with five or more units were down 12.4 percent in March to an annualized 324,000, or less than 30 percent of the annualized total.
Meyers Research’s forecast for permits this year shows only six of the top 50 markets—the New York City metro area, Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Los Angeles-Long Beach, San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Columbus, Ga.-Alabama, and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara—where multifamily permits account for at least half of the total.
Click the link below to continue reading this story on page 32 of Professional Builder’s June issue.