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Kings of Their Hills
John Caulfield / BUILDER / June 18, 2013
Builders in the top 50 U.S. markets close out 2012 with a flourish
Last year, the 50 largest metro markets ranked by new-home closings saw those closings increase 11.9 percent over the top 50 markets in 2011, to 218,571 units. That count represented 57.6 percent of all sales of new single-family homes and multifamily completions nationwide. And nearly three-fifths of the closings in those 50 markets—130,988—were transacted by their respective 10 largest builders. These Local Leaders generally grew at an even faster pace than their housing markets did, increasing their closings by an aggregate 21.1 percent over BUILDER’s Local Leaders list in 2011.
Our 2012 ranking reflects an industry on the mend, and one where public and national builders continue to dominate in many regions. In 27 of the 50 metros on our list, one of the industry’s five largest builders—D.R. Horton, PulteGroup, NVR, Lennar, and KB Home—is ranked as No. 1.
Typical of how individual builders exceeded their market’s sales velocity was Houston, once again the country’s top housing market with 19,317 closings. That was a respectable 12.5 percent gain over 2011, but considerably below the performance of market leader Lennar, whose 1,977 closings were 36.2 percent higher than in 2011; or the 20.3 percent gain in closings achieved by No. 2 builder Perry Homes.
The big guys tightened their grip on several markets, including Washington, D.C., where NVR closed 2,060 homes in 2012—447 more than the previous year. NVR now also captures nearly half of Pittsburgh’s annual closings after its acquisition of that market’s No. 2 builder, Heartland Homes.
In Phoenix, PulteGroup closed 300 more homes than it did in 2011, and Taylor Morrison closed 250 more than in 2011. And with the exception of hometown builders Harmony Homes and American West (the latter of which went through bankruptcy protection last year), the publics have a stranglehold on Las Vegas, which finally shook loose from its foreclosure nightmare to generate a 31.3 percent increase in closings to 5,169 homes.