Frederick, Md.-based home builder Dan Ryan Builders has started construction in four North Carolina communities in and around Raleigh, which is likely to be a springboard for its future growth throughout the state.

The company, which ranked 66 on the most recent BUILDER 100 list, expanded to the Raleigh market in February. Dan Ryan, the company’s CEO, explained that “operational execution” will be the key to his company’s success in Raleigh-Durham, just as it’s been in Charleston, S.C. (Dan Ryan Builders entered Charleston four years ago and is now the No. 9 builder in sales.) “We’re doing solidly there; not terrific, but what we hoped for. And Raleigh is larger and stronger than Charleston,” he said. 

While Raleigh-Durham has been one of the country’s healthier housing markets during the recession, its sales have been slipping lately. For example, reported that, through July 14, the market’s year-to-date home sales were off nearly 30%. The average listing price was down by just under 1% to $312,752.

Dan Ryan's new North Carolina division will be led by divisional president Craig Smith, who joined the company last November after working for K. Hovnanian Homes in the Triad area for 13 years.

Smith isn’t fazed by the market’s recent dip. “Everything is relative,” he said. “Raleigh doesn’t look as good as it did three years ago, but it looks great compared to the rest of the country. But you’ve got to be below $350,000 to sell here.”

Dan Ryan Builders has been introducing itself to North Carolina’s home buyers by emphasizing that it’s been in business for 20 years. “There are a lot of startups down here—too many—so we think that’s an advantage for us,” said Smith. However, he admits that it’s taken the company longer to get going here than he thought it would. “I’m about three months behind where I wanted to be at this point, because we had to clean up some liens and so forth.”

Smith told BUILDER last week that Dan Ryan Builders controls 27 single-family lots in the Brightleaf at the Park development in Durham, where it already has one model and one spec built. The homes it builds there will be priced between $230,000 and $270,000. The townhouses it builds on 98 lots in the Sharon Farm development Wake Forest will be priced at between $130,000 and $145,000. It has 22 lots in the Springfield development in Fuqua-Varina, where its single-family homes will be priced at between $170,000 and $200,000. And Dan Ryan Builders' 44 townhouses in the Edgewater development in Raleigh will sell in the mid- to upper-$90s.

He couldn’t say specifically what Dan Ryan Builders paid for lots in the four communities, except that on the single-family lots “if you can get them for between $40,000 and $65,000, you’re doing pretty good.”

In terms of the houses themselves, Dan Ryan Builders will build--with a few tweaks--the same product in Raleigh as it does in Charleston, according to company executives.

John Caulfield is senior editor for BUILDER magazine.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Raleigh, NC, Charleston, SC, Durham, NC.