KB Buys Dura Los Angeles-based KB Home announced that it had acquired Indianapolis-based Dura Builders last month. The privately held home builder delivered approximately 500 homes in 2003, generating more than $75 million in revenue. Indianapolis is the 17th largest market in the country with more than 13,000 permits issued in 2003. Dura has been a top 10 builder in Indianapolis for nearly a decade. Its founder and president, Paul Shoopman, will become president of KB Home's new Indiana division.

WCI Nets Spectrum In late May, WCI Communities of Bonita Springs, Fla., announced its acquisition of Spectrum Communities, a Valhalla, N.Y.-based builder and developer of luxury residential lifestyle communities in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The price of the acquisition was not disclosed. Spectrum's founder, Mitchell Hochberg, will remain president of the company, which will become a WCI subsidiary. Spectrum delivered 359 homes and generated an estimated $182 million last year. WCI closed 2,119 luxury homes in 2003, generating $744 million in gross revenue.

Lennar Expands Miami's Lennar Corp. expanded its presence in Florida when it announced in June that it had acquired substantially all the assets of Jacksonville-based Classic American Homes for an undisclosed purchase price paid in cash. The deal will give Lennar approximately 400 home sites and a backlog of approximately 61 homes. Classic American delivered 46 homes in 2003 at an average sales price of $263,000.

Home In A Can You've heard of a ship in a bottle. Well, now there's a new house in a Coke can. Running from May 26 through June 30, Houston's Royce Builders gave new meaning to “affordable housing.” Hidden in specially marked packages of Coca-Cola sold at Kroger supermarkets in the Houston area was a GPS telephone. When buyers pushed a button on the phone, which resembles an ordinary can of soda, they received a chance to win a new four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath, 2,700-square-foot house valued at more than $200,000.

Meyers Acquired BUILDER and BIG BUILDER parent Hanley Wood announced in June that it had purchased the Meyers Group, the housing industry's leading provider of residential real estate data and consulting services. The firm helps builders, developers, lenders, and building product manufacturers make business decisions on issues ranging from new-home design and construction financing to geographic expansion and pricing strategy. Jeff Meyers, founder and CEO, and his management team, will stay on to run the business. The acquisition marks Hanley Wood's entry into the data business.

Aging In Place Four out of five Americans say they plan for their future home just as they do for financial and health care needs, according to the findings of an “Aging in Place” survey conducted by the American Society of Interior Designers. Over half (57 percent) of Americans surveyed said they want a house that is easier to maintain than their current home. Forty percent want a house that is easier to get around in than their current home.

Sound Barriers Twenty homeowners in downtown Los Angeles won $1.32 million in late May for suffering through the sounds of their neighbors day and night. When homeowners at the Toy Warehouse lofts moved into their new homes in 2001, they began to hear their neighbors cooking dinner, talking, watching TV, snoring in their sleep, and using the bathroom. An examination revealed that the builder had not followed the building plans and omitted soundproofing be tween the walls and the floors.

Home Prices Climbing Higher
Median home prices continue to skyrocket as much as $274 a day in Orange County. Below are the 25 U.S. markets where prices increased the most during the first quarter of 2004.
(First Quarter Median Prices)
Metro Area Median Price ($000s) Change From ‘03
1 Riverside/San Bernardino $258.9 32.9%
2 Las Vegas $224.9 31.3%
3 Orange County $572.5 28.1%
4 Los Angeles area $387.7 25.8%
5 Sarasota $239.9 24.5%
6 San Diego $483.0 24.1%
7 Reno $227.5 24.0%
8 Miami/Hialeah $245.9 21.6%
9 Sacramento $277.9 20.7%
10 Honolulu $420.0 20.0%
11 Washington $300.7 19.0%
12 W. Palm Beach/
Boca Raton/
Delray Beach
$267.0 18.7%
13 Portland $218.1 17.9%
14 San Francisco Bay Area $597.3 17.3%
15 Ft. Lauderdale $243.4 16.6%
16 Hartford $212.3 16.4%
17 Baltimore $220.1 15.8%
18 Jacksonville $143.6 14.2%
19 Nassau/Suffolk $384.0 13.6%
20 Seattle $282.5 13.0%
21 Providence $239.9 12.5%
22 New York /
N. New Jersey/
Long Island
$369.7 12.2%

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA, San Francisco, CA.