In 2011, Scottsdale, Ariz.–based AV Homes closed 41 new sales. In 2015, that number jumped to 1,750, a growth of 84% just last year alone.
What happened? Simply stated, the company completely revamped its strategy. And it hired former PulteGroup CFO Roger Cregg as CEO. Cregg promptly fixed the company’s balance sheet and lured San Francisco–based TPG Capital as an investor, which now owns 43.8% of the common stock of the firm. With that capital, a $65 million revolving credit facility the company secured in April 2014, and two additional bank loans for another $40 million, the builder was set to expand.
“We invested in green-field properties in all of our markets, and we were able to capitalize on that,” Cregg says. “It’s been a combination of organic growth, as well as acquisition growth.”
AV had a presence in Phoenix, Orlando, and Charlotte, N.C., but Cregg wanted to add more markets, as well as offer more conventional housing to go with AV’s active adult offerings. In March 2014, as the home building mergers-and-acquisitions market was heating up, AV bought Central Florida-based Royal Oak Homes. Then, in June 2015, AV scooped up Charlotte-based Bonterra Builders, which was the No. 9 builder in Charlotte in BUILDER’s 2015 Local Leaders list.
Royal Oaks Homes and Bonterra, which offered a large land pipeline, checked a number of other boxes for AV. “We look for good management teams that are very well rounded,” he says. “They have a solid reputation, are quality builders delivering a great value for their homes, and are extremely well respected by the trades in those markets.”
After seeing spectacular 263.82% growth during the past two years, it’s easy to wonder what’s next on Cregg’s agenda. Simple answer: He wants to continue to grow.
Alex Barron, founder and senior research analyst of El Paso, Texas–based Housing Research Center, a housing research firm, thinks AV is a good bet to keep getting bigger.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they continue to be one of the fast-growing builders and [continue] making acquisitions,” Barron says. “It’s an up-and-coming story. They have some pretty interesting communities and build some nice homes.”