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Toll Brothers ‘Chasing the Sun,’ Following Buyers Into ‘Smile States’


Toll Brothers ‘Chasing the Sun,’ Following Buyers Into ‘Smile States’

January 11, 2021
House with flag of Texas
Photo: Othmar

Last quarter, Toll Brothers recorded the most signed home contracts in the builder’s 53-year history—on top of the 68% year-over-year increase. TIME reports Toll Brothers’ buyers are spending big on customization, with an average of buyer upgrades hitting $183,000 last quarter, another record. And Doug Yearley, CEO of Toll Brothers, says Americans are running to areas such as Reno, Nev., Boise, Idaho, Texas, and Florida. Toll Brothers is following the buyers and opening nearly 150 housing communities in these new markets, reports TIME. Yearley says it’s all about the “Smile States,” such as North Carolina down through Florida, Texas, and up the West.

Yearley, who was handpicked and groomed by company co-founder Bob Toll and has been CEO since 2010, has spent three decades at Toll Brothers. He recently joined TIME for a conversation about where Americans are moving, changes in housing design and the most popular paint colors (Alabaster and Agreeable Gray by Sherwin-Williams).

You’ve been in the business since 1990. How does the market in 2020 stack up?

Since May, we’re in the hottest housing market that I’ve seen in those 30 years. It’s a huge shock. In late March, I wasn’t sure we’d sell another home. I read recently that a third of resale transactions are trading above asking price. That’s unheard of.

Let’s break down some of the different drivers and if they will persist: Work from home?

I think the concept of having some flexibility to work remotely will survive the pandemic. We’ve already heard of some tech companies that have said forever or very long-term, you can work from home. I think that’s not the norm, but there’s going to be enough companies that do that. I still want people in the office a couple of days a week.

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