Ryland Homes has moved back into the Arizona market by buying the assets of Trend Homes, a private builder who will bring 910 lots and homes onto Ryland’s books as well as 105 houses under construction in seven active communities and 10 more under development.
“We are pleased to announce the acquisition of Trend Homes, which is consistent with our strategy of expanding into new markets that present opportunities for growth,” Ryland’s CEO Larry Nicholson said in the news release.
“We are excited about the current and future land positions we have,” said Nicholson.
But Ryland didn’t buy Trend as a mere land play, says Drew Mackintosh, Ryland’s vice president of investor relations and communications. Rather, Ryland sees the purchase as an investment in a successful home building company as well.
Ryland plans to keep all the Trend employees, and Reed Porter, Trend’s president, will become president of Ryland’s new Phoenix division. “Clearly we felt highly about how they performed in the downturn,” Mackintosh said.
Controlling ownership in Trend was bought from Najafi Investments, a private company invested in a variety of industries. Najafi bought Trend in 2008 as the home building market in Phoenix was grinding to a stop.
“We are proud of the success Trend Homes has enjoyed under our stewardship and are confident this acquisition will ensure the continuation of that success,” said Jahm Najafi, CEO of Najafi Investments in the announcement.
Ryland has other land in Phoenix under contract, separate from the Trend buy, as well. “This [purchase of Trend] was a way to really accelerate our entry into the market,” said Mackintosh. “We like the outlook for the Phoenix market for some time to come.”
The West Lake Village, Calif.–based Ryland began winding down its Phoenix operations in 2008, about the same time Najafi was buying Trend. By 2009 Ryland, along with a lot of other national builders, had mostly abandoned the sinking market. But now, with Phoenix humming with home sales again, almost all the large publicly traded builders are moving back to town.
“We are very happy that this worked out for us,” said Mackintosh. “And I think the seller is very happy with the terms he got.”
The sale price was not released.
While Ryland is aways looking for good opportunities, Mackitosh said, he doesn't think there are any other new markets targeted now.
"We have got enough on our plate with gaining market share in the markets we are in now," he said. "We have got plenty of room to grow"
Teresa Burney is a senior editor for Builder magazine.