After spending 2010 stuck in neutral, the industry’s largest private home builders were finally able to shift into gear in 2011. While all of the top 10 publics saw closings drop and almost all saw revenue decline, more than half of the 10 largest private builders (see chart below) reported stronger closing numbers and enviable financials.

Taylor Morrison (No. 14) came out on top among the privately held with 2,327 closings, but The Villages of Lake-Sumter (No. 15) wasn’t far behind with 2,307—and a 49% improvement in gross revenue.

Another impressive report came from Miami-based The Related Group, which experienced only a 2% improvement in closings but saw gross revenue surge 45%. At a time when Miami is logging the third highest average rents in the country, according to the Miami New Times, and foreign and investor demand is red hot, Related’s condos seem to be hitting a sweet spot. The median sales price of Miami condos were up 38% year-over-year in the first quarter, according to Digital Journals, which quotes Maureen Pomares, chairman of the Miami Association of Realtors, as saying that improvements were boosted by investors and foreign buyers.

The list’s hardest hit was Shea Homes, which fell three places to No. 21 after a 19% decline in closings. Woodside Homes (No. 29), which appeared among the top 10 private companies in 2010, fell off after its closings suffered a 39% decrease, making room for MHI-McGuyer Homebuilders (No. 24) to join the ranks thanks to an 11% improvement in closings.

BUILDER 100 Top 10 Private Builders
Rank Company 2011 Closings Change (vs. 2010 Closings) 2011 Gross Revenue (In millions) Change (vs. 2010 Revenue)
14 Taylor Morrison 2,327 -9% $1,400 -7%
15 The Villages of Lake-Sumter 2,307 4% $763 49%
17 David Weekley Homes 1,926 4% $624 2%
19 Highland Homes 1,673 -2% $591 -1%
20 The Related Group 1,662 2% $1,389 45%
21 Shea Homes 1,628 -19% $682 -18%
22 The Drees Co. 1,462 -3% $515 0%
23 Perry Homes 1,370 6% $381 5%
24 MHI-McGuyer Homebuilders 1,221 11% $340 11%
25 Ashton Woods USA 1,210 1% $325 5%

Claire Easley is a senior editor at Builder. Senior Editor John Caulfield also contributed reporting to this article.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Miami, FL, Greenville, SC.