LIST RESEARCH BY LORETTA WILLIAMS
CYCLISTS, ESPECIALLY THOSE who compete in the Tour de France, learn early to pace themselves. Go too slow, and they'll lack the velocity to make it up a steep slope. Go too fast, and they'll lose control on a hairpin turn. The best have both the speed they need to win short sprints and the stamina to carry them through races that stretch over days and weeks.
Fast-growing builders have more in common with these racers than knowing to get back on the bike when they fall. The 100 companies listed here have posted incredible growth figures since 2001—the top 10 all increased their revenues by more than 130 percent on an annual compound basis between 2001 and 2003—but they're also trying to move at sustainable speeds.
Many of this year's fast trackers are new to the list—and to the industry. Almost half of the list opened shop within the last decade. They fell in line just as housing began moving at a rapid clip, and our numbers show just how much opportunity there's been for these builders.
That's not to say that some haven't endured a few scrapes along the way. A few have even aimed for the potholes, willing to lose money for a year or two, hoping it would set them up for greater gains in the future.
Marathon bikers and builders both cite teamwork as the key to success. Drafting behind a teammate can increase a cyclist's speed as much as 20 percent, and these builders believe that working with the right people provides the support necessary to keep driving toward higher goals.
Although there are no Lance Armstrongs on our list, four builders do have something in common with the Tour de France champ: six consecutive wins. D.R. Horton, Neumann Homes, Toll Brothers, and Sotherby Homes have made all six Fast Track lists. This year, each crossed the finish line with a three-year revenue growth rate of 9.9 percent or more.