FEW BUILDERS CAN COMPLAIN ABOUT THE RIDE THE housing market has taken them on during the last decade. At times, it's been almost as if speed limits haven't existed, as low interest rates, buyer demand, and price appreciation have combined to accelerate builders' growth well beyond their expectations.
The builders that make up this year's Fast Track list have seen some of the most extreme growth. As a group, they increased closings 177 percent over the three years from 2002 to 2004 and achieved a compounded annual revenue growth rate of 60 percent during the same period.Go to Fast Track 2005 Chart
Lake Oswego, Ore.–based Buena Vista Custom Homes leads the pack, with a 1,083 percent revenue growth rate and an astounding 7,300 percent growth in closings. Its fellow builders in the top 10 have posted impressive numbers too; they've kept up an impressive pace of growing revenue, 100 percent or more across the three years. What's more, this year marks the debut for each on the Fast Track.
Many companies making the list this year build in markets that are tough to break in to, where public builders dominate the landscape, the top 10 builders control more than 50 percent of the starts, or it's notoriously difficult for any company to grab market share. Yet they've managed to navigate through the traffic to gain on their competition. For example, Reno, Nev.–based Altmann Ott Homes and Pageantry Cos.' Seattle division have each cracked the top 10 in their markets.
This year's rookies might be well served to study the maneuvers of the Fast Track veterans: D.R. Horton, Neumann Homes, Sotherby Homes, and Toll Brothers all made the list for the seventh consecutive year. With the changes those builders have experienced since first hitting the Fast Track, it's clear that it is possible for companies to make quick turns and change gears—and even brake a little—while continuing to rank among the home building industry's fastest.