Friday, May 18, 2007

Local Community Builders

It is always good to hear local business doing the job better than the national corporations, which is usually a testament to their knowledge of the area and its consumers.

Another positive spin off is that local business is usually much more apt to help the rest of the local community deal with those local quality of life issues that mean so much to the larger climate in which families and businesses thrive.

Hail the little guy
Private local builders are hot in housing
By Jim Wasserman - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PDT Friday, May 18, 2007

Private family-owned builders are growing their share of new-home sales so far in 2007, gaining market share at the expense of some of the nation's biggest publicly traded home builders, according to new statistics.

Six longtime local home builders alone accounted for 15.5 percent of the region's 2,671 home sales in January, February and March, according to Costa Mesa-based Hanley Wood Market Intelligence. During all of 2006 those builders -- Elliott Homes, Dunmore Homes, Reynen & Bardis Communities, JMC Homes, Tim Lewis Communities and JTS Communities -- accounted for about 9.5 percent of nearly 10,000 sales.

Though the new statistics show only one quarter's sales, analysts say they may represent the advantages -- at least in the current tough market -- of local builders who bought their land years ago. The lower prices paid then enable them to compete more effectively on price.

By contrast, many publicly traded builders bought land at the height of the housing boom. They also must meet the short-term earnings expectations of their Wall Street shareholders.

"It's going to prove very difficult for them to maintain market share in Sacramento over the next year or two," said Sid Dunmore, owner of Granite Bay-based Dunmore Homes. His firm has built houses locally since 1953.

"We didn't go out and completely overpay for land like they did. Some of our holdings go back to the late 1980s or 1990 or '91. None of the publics have that."