In an era when many builders are shunning younger, first-time buyers, Wade Jurney Homes not only is catering to them, but it’s doing so with success.
The Greensboro, N.C.–based builder sells exclusively to the entry-level market, with prices varying from $80,000 to the $200s across its five regions—Raleigh, Charlotte, and Greensboro/Triangle in North Carolina, the coastal Carolinas, and Southwest Florida—with the average price at about $145,000. “What builders are offering, a lot of [millennials] can’t afford,” says president Wade Jurney. “We’re the price leader in any market we go into. We’re really good at being able to compete with the resale market.”
Achieving such an attractive price point requires a no-frills approach. “We value-engineer our homes, making the products and procedures as efficient as possible,” Jurney says. Most notable: Wade Jurney Homes doesn’t offer options, which trims a lot of extra work out of the process.
It’s a sacrifice Jurney says first-time buyers are showing they’re willing to make—they’re happy to give up the granite for a chance at homeownership.
The numbers support the claims. In this year’s Builder 100, Wade Jurney Homes moved up 30 slots to position 60, growing from 437 closings and $60 million in gross revenue in 2014 to 690 closings and $96 million in revenue in 2015. This makes it the fastest-growing private builder on the Builder 100 list.
Jurney’s strategy also includes forgoing the typical home models in favor of new-home “studios.” The studios reside in major shopping centers central to multiple Wade Jurney communities, giving the builder and its offerings a high profile despite its homes being farther away from the retail centers.
The company also protects itself through low lot inventory. Rather than sitting on large quantities of land, it buys only the lots it needs, often at bulk discounts, and begins building on them immediately to stay asset light. It’s a strategy Jurney says helped the builder survive the recession, and even grow: Because the company didn’t own an excess of lots when the recession hit, it was free of toxic assets when the recovery began and was able to scoop up desirable lots.
Jurney expects the builder to reach 1,100 closings this year, continuing with the strategies that eschew excess and respond to market needs: “Focusing on affordability, keeping prices low, and boosting efficiencies.”