Win for Atlanta Builders

DeKalb County, Ga., recently agreed to pay $1.65 million to the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association to settle a lawsuit filed when it was discovered that building permit fee increases were not being used for their intended purposes. The case, Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association Inc. v. DeKalb County, ends a four-year court battle. The builders' association has appointed a task force to decide, by the end of 2003, how the lump-sum payment will be used.

Record Closings for Choice Homes

It wasn't just the top 10 builders who were setting records this summer. Choice Homes, of Arlington, Texas, which ranked 20th by Builder magazine in units sold in 2002, achieved record closings for three months in a row. The company closed more than 400 homes a month for the first time in its history: 401 in June, 423 in July, and 450 in August. In September, Choice, one of the largest home builders in Dallas/Forth Worth, expanded into Huffman, about 35 miles from Houston.

High Rent

Nearly 36 million households rent their homes, but affordable rents are out of reach for many, according to a National Low-Income Housing Coalition report. By state, the hourly wage renters need to earn to afford the Fair Market Rent of a two-bedroom home, assuming a 30 percent-of-income cap on housing costs, is:

Rank State Hourly Wage Needed
1 District of Columbia $23.42
2 Massachusetts $22.40
3 California $21.18
4 New Jersey $19.74
5 New York $18.87
6 Maryland $18.85
7 Connecticut $18.00
8 Hawaii $17.02
9 Alaska $16.75
10 New Hampshire $16.49
11 Colorado $16.29
12 Nevada $16.08
13 Illinois $15.83
14 Virginia $15.79
15 Minnesota $15.16
16 Washington $15.15
17 Arizona $15.00
18 Florida $14.26
19 Delaware $14.06
20 Georgia $14.00
21 Vermont $13.78
22 Oregon $13.59
23 Rhode Island $13.42
24 Texas $13.36
25 Utah $13.34
26 Michigan $13.31
27 Pennsylvania $13.09
28 Maine $12.58
29 Ohio $11.87
30 Wisconsin $11.63
31 North Carolina $11.60
32 New Mexico $11.14
33 Missouri $11.12
34 Indiana $11.00
35 Kansas $10.74
36 South Dakota $10.58
37 South Carolina $10.53
38 Tennessee $10.42
39 Louisiana $10.34
40 Wyoming $10.33
41 Montana $10.32
42 Nebraska $10.28
43 Idaho $10.13
44 Iowa $10.01
45 North Dakota $9.98
46 Oklahoma $9.81
47 Kentucky $9.60
48 Alabama $9.33
49 Mississippi $9.07
50 Arkansas $9.04
51 West Virginia $8.78

Industry Movers and Shakers

Texas-based D.R. Horton has announced three promotions for members of its executive management team. Sam Fuller has been promoted to senior executive vice president. Bill Wheat has been promoted to executive vice president and CFO and has been elected to the Board of Directors. Stacey Dwyer, currently an executive vice president, will now assume the additional title of company treasurer.

Steve Wall, president and CEO of Choice Homes, in Arlington, Texas, announced that Mary Daily has joined the company as land acquisition manager for the Houston area. Daily brings more than 25 years of experience in the home building industry to the position.

KB Home has promoted Jim Widner to president of the Las Vegas division. Widner joined Lewis Homes of Nevada (which merged with then-Kaufam & Broad, which is now known as KB Home) in 1986 as a project superintendent. Widner replaces Leah Bryant, who has been promoted to regional general manager in charge of the company's Las Vegas, Tucson, and Phoenix divisions.

Town & Country Homes, based in Lombard, Ill., has promoted Bryan Jordan to vice president of operations. Jordan joined the company in 1994 as assistant construction manager. In 2002, Jordan was named operations manager, a position he held until his recent promotion.

Brad Haber has been named director of land acquisition at Red Bank, N.J.-based Hovnanian Enterprises. Before joining Hovnanian two years ago, Haber was president of Tangent Builders, a local construction firm.

Personnel changes? E-mail Jill Ralph at:

Countrywide's New Partner

HomeAid America announced a $50,000 national building partnership commitment from Countrywide Home Loans, of Calabasas, Calif.

Countrywide's corporate giving program focuses on supporting nonprofit organizations that strive to remove barriers to homeownership and help those without permanent housing, he said.

"As a HomeAid board member for 10 years, it is exciting to see Countrywide become a national partner," said Dan Hanson, Countrywide's executive vice president. "By supporting HomeAid, we help to create transitional shelter for individuals and families."

Helping Hispanics

Fannie Mae, the Charo Community Development Group, and Nationwide Advantage Mortgage Co. launched "Home Expo en Espanol," a program to boost Hispanic homeownership in Los Angeles. The program will make $20 million in low-cost mortgages available to about 100 people. While nearly 68 percent of the Los Angeles population own their own homes, only 38 percent of the city's Hispanic residents do.

October Issue Correction:

The directory listing for Keybank Real Estate Capital contained an incorrect contact name and location. The correct contact is: Kenneth Paauw, 425-709-4301, e-mail: Keybank's Web site is


Habitat for Humanity reports the first three members of Congress have broken ground on new Habitat for Humanity homes in a four-year program to have members of Congress build a Habitat home in every state or district. The members and districts: Rep. Roy Blunt, Springfield, Mo.; Sen. Mike Crapo, Idaho Falls, Idaho; Rep. Jon Porter, Henderson, Nev.

Is It a Ditch or a River?

Roadside ditches may be considered tributaries and may fall under wetlands regulations, ruled the U.S. Fourth Circuit in Virginia. In mid-September, the conservative court ruled, 3-0, that development activities affecting roadside ditches can be regulated as river tributaries. The case, Treacy and U.S.A. v. Newdunn Associates, is in keeping with a previous ruling this summer, U.S. v. Deaton, where a federal appeals court decided that man-made roadside ditches can be regulated under the Clean Water Act.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Atlanta, GA, Los Angeles, CA.