While 30,000 or so of the housing industry’s executives walked the halls of the International Builders' Show in Orlando, Fla., this week, the housing industry outside of those halls continued to churn at its own pace. Here’s some news you might have missed:
•Lennar, the industry’s third-largest builder, promoted Rick Beckwith to president from executive vice president. Beckwith has been with Lennar since 2006, and has been focusing his attention lately on Rialto, Lennar’s land-investment arm. He steps into the position that Stuart Miller, the builder’s CEO, had been filling. A few days before his appointment, Miami-based Lennar reported that it earned $95.3 million in fiscal 2010 on $3.07 billion in revenue, which was off slightly from fiscal 2009.
•The Las Vegas Sun reported that Pulte agreed to pay $475,000 to settle an investigation of deceptive lending practices by the Nevada Attorney General’s office. The builder also agreed to improve its lending practices. Among the Nevada AG’s claims against Pulte were that the builder had falsified borrowers’ incomes on loan applications and had not disclosed loan terms.
•Arizona-based Meritage Homes signed a national agreement to use Echo as its exclusive provider of solar systems in all of the builder’s solar-powered communities. Meritage, which has made energy efficiency the focal marketing point for its new homes, had already been using Echo in 17 of its communities.
•Realty Trac reported that there were 3,825,637 foreclosure filings, default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions in 2010. Foreclosure filings alone accounted for 2.9 million of that total and were 2% higher than in 2009. One in every 45 homes in the U.S. received a foreclosure filing in 2010. Rick Sharga, executive vice president with Realty Trac, told USA Today that about 5 million borrowers are at least two months delinquent on their mortgage payments. Realty Trak expects another 1.2 million homes to be repossessed by lenders in 2011.
•Later this year Texas-based LGI Homes expects to start construction on the 200 finished lots it acquired in the Phoenix market in December. The company is opening a sales office in Phoenix and has hired former Pulte exec Chris Kelly to manage that market’s activities. The Houston Business Journal quoted Eric Lipar, LGI’s CEO, as saying that his company is expanding into Phoenix because it needs to be in two other markets besides Texas before it can go public. LGI also recently acquired 313 finished lots in the Houston market.
John Caulfield is senior editor for BUILDER magazine.