Homebuilder Investors: Look At Their Credit Balance [Housing Tracker]

 |  Includes: FMCC, FNMA, WCIM
by: Judy Weil

Quote Of The Day 

"The traditionally strong spring selling season was a complete bust for home builders and offered no new clues about when the market might bottom out." - Joseph Snider, Moody's Investor Service VP and senior credit officer. (Reuters, Aug. 4th)

Big Changes At WCI. “Luxury homebuilder WCI Communities [will] restructure its debt under chapter 11 and replace CEO Jerry Starkey with David FryWCI builds retirement homes and "lifestyle communities" in Florida, mostly for retirees and wealthy vacationers from the New York and the Washington, D.C. areas. Carl Icahn, chairman [as of] September: "The filing became necessary because of… the recognition that the company's entire $1.8 billion of debt may soon be in default." Icahn said… certain holders of the company's $125.0 million convertible notes informed WCI that they rejected its exchange offer and instead insisted on being paid in cash in full on Aug. 5, 2008. “(Forbes, Aug. 4th)

Homebuilder Bankruptcies: Who Might Be Next? “Hovnanian (HOV), Beazer Homes (BZH), and Lennar (LEN) are now the three most likely bankruptcy candidates on the chart below of homebuilders (at least from a credit player's perspective). In December 2007, Standard Pacific (SPF) was far and away the most likely to go bankrupt. Ryland (RYL), Pulte (PHM), Toll Brothers (TOL), and especially MDC Holdings (MDC) are the least likely homebuilders on the above list to head for bankruptcy.”  (Michael Shedlock in Seeking Alpha, Aug. 4th)

Homebuilder Credit Default Swaps (Click to enlarge)

Moody's Sees More Severe Housing Downturn. “Moody’s Investor Service: The U.S. housing downturn is likely to be even longer and more severe in light of recent financial problems at key U.S. mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE)… Further home price declines would worsen the angst in financial markets one year after the credit crisis started and further weaken the economy… Moody's said it expects to see more defaults among homebuilders that have deeply speculative ratings, while higher rated companies will face tighter and more expensive credit facilities. It has taken 11 negative rating actions since April, when the last report on the homebuilders was published.” (Reuters, Aug. 4th)

Altieri Homes Cuts Staff, Plans For New Projects As Debts Mount. “Facing nearly $2 million in debts to creditors across Maryland and liens on several of its homes across the mid-Atlantic region, Altieri Homes of Columbia is [hoping to] avoid filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection… company President Daren Altieri said. Altieri has been forced to slash its staff from 105 to seven employees, eliminate several communities from its pipeline and turn over much of its construction and marketing work to outside firms. Even with those efforts, Altieri said, the company does not expect to reach firm financial footing for at least another year or more.” (Baltimore Business Journal, Aug. 1st)

Kimball Hill Seeks Court Extension. “Kimball Hill Homes asked the courts for a 90-day extension--until Nov. 19--to file a recovery plan, according to legal documents filed Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Its exclusive right to submit a plan ends Aug. 21, and without exclusivity, the company fears "debtors' resources would no doubt be pulled in unproductive directions such that the value of the estates would quickly dissipate to the detriment of all creditors and parties in interest." (Big Builder Online, July 31st)


Seeking Alpha's Housing Tracker is a collection of housing-related excerpts from various sources, grouped by topic. Feel free to post any interesting links on the subject in the comments section below.

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