This year, Wayne Homes, an on-your-lot builder based in Green, Ohio, near Akron, expects to build 500 homes in four states, about the same number it built in 2007 when it was owned by Centex Homes.
Dave Logsdon and Bill Post, who had been running the company for Centex Homes since April 1998 when the national builder paid $60 million for 90 percent of Wayne’s assets, bought back the company on December 31. When Centex acquired Wayne Homes, it was looking to diversify into more segments of the home building market, and Wayne, which had been in business 25 years, fit the bill. Wayne Homes was looking to grow, and under Centex’s ownership expanded beyond its eight markets in Ohio into Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Indiana.
“We had a great marriage with Centex, and the parting was amicable,” says Logsdon, who declined to disclose the terms of the transaction. (Centex spokesman Eric Bruner confirmed the acquisition but wouldn’t comment beyond that.) Centex’s CEO Tim Eller assisted in the transition of the company into private ownership, says Logsdon, Wayne’s president and CEO. (Post is its COO.)
However, the two builders parted ways because Wayne Homes’ business model was “unique” for Centex. It builds on home buyers’ lots, “so we’re more service oriented,” explains Logsdon, who notes that half of Wayne Homes’ sales come from customer referrals. “We also have a different SG&A ratio, a lower-risk capital model, and our margins are lower, but steadier” than Centex’s, he adds.
The targeted buyer for Wayne Homes’ houses, says Logsdon, is “the competent do-it-yourselfer” who is willing to tackle the landscaping and other exterior upgrades that this builder doesn’t handle as part of its construction. Logsdon begged off when asked about his products’ selling price, but one of Wayne Homes’ house plans is a three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 2,063-square-foot home that, according to the company’s Web site, sells in Pittsburgh for $109,000, and in southern Michigan for $102,000.
Logsdon says permits in the four states that Wayne Homes operates in are down about 33 percent this year. His company also competes for on-your-lot customers with K. Hovnanian and Schumacher Homes. “We’re flat this year, so we’re gaining market share,” he laughs.