Horton Hands Over Settlement Facing a defective-construction lawsuit by condo owners in a Colorado subdivision, Texas-based D.R. Horton forked over a $39.5 million settlement. Filed by the homeowners association of the 246-unit Summit at Rock Creek, the suit alleged that the 43-building complex is riddled with problems, including cracked foundations, poor land drainage, mold, water damage, and roof troubles.

The suit started a waterfall of litigation. Not only did the homeowners sue the builder, but the builder also filed suit against the more than 30 subcontractors who constructed the community, many of whom have filed suit against more than 12 companies that also worked on the site.

Builders On Air Moved by the compelling stories on ABC-TV's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, John Laing Homes recently lent its services to help a family in Fairfield, Calif. The home builder presented Susan Tom and her seven adopted children, all of whom have physical or mental handicaps, with a new home equipped for their special needs. In addition, John Laing donated approximately $300,000 to a foundation to support the children's education.

In related charitable fashion, Bel Alton, Md.-based Somerset Homes used the show to demonstrate that a builder doesn't have to be big to make a big difference. The custom builder turned production builder constructed a six-bedroom home to replace a nine-member Maryland family's cramped two-bedroom house.

Pulte Partners for Philanthropy Teaming up with Habitat for Humanity and the City of Riverside, Pulte Homes delivered a 1,258-square-foot, four-bedroom home for a worthy Southern California family in just five weekends. Until this project, Jose and Yolanda Pedroza struggled to raise six girls, ranging in age from seven to 17, in a two-bedroom apartment. Jose's sister had passed away, leaving her four daughters to be raised by the Pedrozas along with their two daughters. In exchange, the Pedroza family must invest 500 hours of “sweat equity” in their home in addition to making a low down payment for an interest-free loan.

Atwell-Hicks Grows Atwell-Hicks, a national land development consulting firm, merged with Novi, Mich.-based Seiber, Keast & Associates, a civil engineering firm. Seiber, Keast & Associates' engineering expertise in residential subdivisions, condominiums, apartments, industrial buildings, office complexes, and shopping centers complements Atwell-Hicks' surveying, land planning, and environmental consulting business. The merger deepens Atwell-Hicks' presence in Michigan while supporting the company's growth in emerging markets such as Florida. The combined companies will create a workforce of 380 employees.

New Bay Area Builder John Laing Homes rounded out its operations by expanding into the last major market in California in which the Newport beach-based home builder did not have a presence: the San Francisco Bay area. Fresh out of retirement, Roger Menard, formerly the president and CEO of SummerHill Homes in Palo Alto, will lead John Laing's new operations as president. Several deals are already in talks, including initial plans for 72 executive-level, single-family homes at Norris Canyon Estates in Contra Costa County, and two additional communities in Alameda and Solano Counties.

M/I Homes Joins S&P SmallCap M/I Homes, ranked the nation's 20th largest builder by BUILDER magazine, announced that it has been added to the S&P SmallCap 600. With the news, M/I joins the ranks of comapnies such as Chaparral Steel, Frontier Airlines, and IHOP Corp., which all have a market capitalization between $60 million and $3 billion. This index covers approximately 3 percent of the U.S. equities market.

Pennsylvania Land Toss Yardley, Pa.-based DeLuca Homes purchased land holdings from the Barness Organization. The acquisition includes more than 800 future lots in Gloucester County, N.J., and Bucks, Chester, and Northampton Counties, Pa. The deal also includes 235 active lots in two communities, Redcliffe in Nazareth, Pa., and Andover Place in Gloucester County, N.J. DeLuca Homes will retain Barness' management team to maintain operations in these areas.

Oster Buy Out Hovnanian Enterprises plans to bolster its “on-your-lot” building operations in Ohio through the acquisition of Lorain-based Oster Homes. Building just west of Cleveland, Oster Homes, which BUILDER magazine ranked as the fourth largest builder in the area, delivered 247 homes with revenue of $56 million last year. As a result of the purchase, Hovnanian takes control of approximately 3,000 lots throughout the greater Cleveland area, which is the 50th largest housing market based on 2004 new home starts.

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