Next 100 Snapshot

The BUILDER 100 companies weren't the only builders growing quickly during 2005. The average Next 100 company closed 495 homes during the year, up from 469 in 2004, and grossed $192 million, $42 million more than its 2004 take. Next 100 builders are well seasoned, too, averaging 23 years in business and 288 employees. But 2005 wasn't a great year for gaining on the BUILDER 100. The top 100 grew closings an average of 16 percent and revenue an average of 28 percent compared with 12 percent and 22 percent, respectively, for the Next 100.

RISING WITH A BULLET: These 10 companies took advantage of 2005's extraordinary housing market to make the biggest jumps up the Next 100 list. Another 35 companies were listed on the Next 100 for the first time.

READY TO MOVE: Several of last year's unit-growth leaders graduated from the Next 100 to this year's BUILDER 100. Does this new batch have their sights set on the top 100, too? Ivanhoe-Huntley followed 62 percent growth in 2004 with another fast-paced year, and Comstock nearly doubled in size just a year after going public.

PRICING POWER: It's not surprising that half of the builders who topped the Next 100 in closings growth also led in revenue gains. Many builders were helped in 2005 by strong price appreciation, which drove both gross and net margins higher.

FIRST-TIME STRENGTH: In a sign of the continued demand for entry-level housing, three of these builders made the Next 100 for the first time, thanks in part to their entry-level sales. Another five recorded double-digit closings growth in 2005.

CUSTOM KINGS: Most of these companies build other product types as a majority of their sales, but they also specialize in higher-end housing, unlike many of the larger production builders.

SUN-SEEKERS: Just a few Next 100 companies build vacation homes. Not surprisingly, the top five are all based in desirable locales: Century Vintage in California, and the other four in Florida.

TRENDSETTERS: Not content to leave condo building to the larger builders, many Next 100 companies completed con-dos last year. Trammell Crow Residential and Novare Group join this list after refocusing efforts on for-sale, in addition to for-rent, construction.

LOOKING AHEAD: We asked BUILDER 100 survey respondents to rank the importance of factors that relate to improving the competitive position of big builders. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Next 100 builders felt slightly different than their larger counterparts, rating evenflow processes and purchasing efficiencies higher, and mid- and high-rise construction expertise lower. Both groups agreed, though, on the importance that market share and new demographic segments will play in the industry's growth in coming years.