The PHBCA's collective clout may well get its members and its message some real attention. Consisting of 13 of the largest publicly held home building companies within the $250 billion housing industry, PHBCA member companies collectively delivered nearly 200,000 new homes in 35 states in 2002 (or nearly one in five new homes nationwide).

Getting those figures to sink in is one of the goals of the group, says Beazer Homes' CEO Ian McCarthy. “We need to communicate that the face of the home building industry has been transformed,” he says. But the image that many members of the media and the investor community have is frozen in the past, he says. “They think of us as real estate companies. We are really retailers, handling the largest purchase of anyone's life.

Another commonly held misperception, notes McCarthy, is that “the moment interest rates go up, the housing market drops to zero.” Nothing could be further from the truth for large, well-capitalized builders with banks of land and ready access to capital, he says. “We will probably gain market share if rates go up,” as smaller builders might suffer, he notes. There are also new opportunities to move buyers to a multiplicity of mortgage products, apart from 30-year fixed rates, that did not exist 10 years ago, he notes.

TALKING POINTS Part of PHBCA's goals is to bring greater clarity and uniformity to the message executives share with the media. Among the points they expect to stress:

  • America's largest, publicly traded home builders have created a distinct, powerful new segment within the housing industry that operates with its own set of market and financial dynamics and have become more predictable growth companies even while operating in a traditionally cyclical housing sector.
  • American's largest home builders are well positioned to further expand market share within the U.S. housing market.
  • The home building industry has become less interest-rate sensitive in recent years, thanks to government fiscal policy, land constraints, and a more prudent management approach to balancing housing supply and demand by the country's largest home builders.
  • American's largest builders play an important role in driving the country's overall economy, both nationally and locally.

    Beazer Homes, U.S.A. (Atlanta)
    Centex Corp. (Dallas)
    D.R. Horton (Arlington, Texas)
    Hovnanian Enterprises (Red Bank, N.J.)
    KB Home (Los Angeles)
    Lennar Corp. (Miami, Fla.)
    M.D.C. Holdings (Denver)
    Meritage Corp. (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
    Pulte Homes (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.)
    The Ryland Group (Calabasas, Calif.)
    Standard Pacific Homes (Irvine, Calif.)
    Toll Brothers (Huntingdon Valley, Pa.)
    WCI Communities (Bonita Springs, Fla.)
    The PHBCA's Web site is

    Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.