Public Homebuilder News [Housing Tracker]

Includes: HOV, MHO, MTH, OHB, PHM, TOL
by: Judy Weil

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.

Land Ho! Toll Pioneers Gowanus. “Brooklyn, NY: Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL) will begin the eight- to 12-month public approval process for its 447-unit project slated for two manufacturing blocks along the polluted [Gowanus Canal] waterway. A luxury project next to a waterway that is so polluted that it will require its own cleanup before anyone will be allowed to move in? Yes — especially one that would be a bridge between tonier Park Slope to the east and Carroll Gardens to the west.” (Brooklyn Paper, Sept. 18) 

As Foreclosures Rise, So Do New Homes. California: “San Joaquin County may be at the center of the nation's foreclosure crisis, but that hasn't stopped builders from putting up new homes. The Meritage Company (NYSE:MTH) continues to build in Lathrop… A Meritage sales person said one reason building continues is because of the desire of buyers to have something new. "Some of the (foreclosed) homes are trashed. You can spend more money to fix them than to buy a brand-new home," said Haiyan Parks. Parks said two homes sold this past weekend, after Meritage put on an aggressive marketing campaign advertising the availability of new homes.” (News10, Sept. 17) 

Great Sales Opportunities Await Savvy Buyers at a Matzel & Mumford Community Near You.  “This weekend (September 19th-21st) [Hovnanian (NYSE:HOV)] will offer incredible savings on homes located in a variety of luxury residential communities throughout New Jersey. Glenn Ward, VP, Sales and Marketing for Matzel & Mumford, a K. Hovnanian company: "This aggressive sales event is designed to eliminate the uncertainty of the market by allowing buyers to purchase the home of their dreams... Incentives will vary from community to community, but in some cases, homebuyers can expect to receive up to $125,000 off 'quick move-in homes' or $100,000 off options and upgrades.” (Press Release, Sept. 17) 

PHM Downgraded By Citigroup. “Pulte Homes (NYSE:PHM) was downgraded Monday by analysts at Citigroup and the stock is now at $16.26, down $0.19 (-1.16%) on volume of 7,930,640 shares traded. The brokerage downgraded PHM to "Hold" from "Buy." Over the last 52 weeks the stock has ranged from a low of $8.20 to a high of $18.49. Pulte Homes stock has been showing support around $15.26 and resistance in the $17.46 range... If you are looking for a hedged play on PHM the stock seems like it could be a candidate for an October out-of-the-money bear-call credit spread above the 20 range.” (Market Intelligence Center, Sept. 15) 

Orleans Homebuilders Announces Extension of Limited Waiver. “Orleans Homebuilders, Inc. (OHB) announced it had received an extension of the limited waiver received on May 9, 2008 from its lenders under the Company's Amended and Restated Revolving Credit Agreement… The extension generally extends the waiver period through… September 29, 2008. The Company currently anticipates reaching an agreement with its lenders to amend the Credit Facility prior to the termination of the extended waiver period and prior to filing its 10-K for F2008…. [by] September 29, 2008. If the Company is unable to… amend its Credit Facility on or before September 29, 2008…  it will then be in default.” (MarketWatch, Sept. 15) 

Bailout Curve Ball. Ohio: “M/I Homes (NYSE:MHO) was set to roll out its "Smart Move Event" promotion, which promises low interest rates for new-home buyers… But the… takeover of [Fannie/Freddie] sent home-loan interest rates down as much as half a percentage point nationwide. Realizing the company would have to cut its promotional rate for it to have its desired effect, M/I Chief Marketing Officer Bill McDonough hustled midweek to have the ads and signs reprinted. M/I's Smart Move Event now advertises a first-year interest rate of 3 3/8%; a second-year rate of 4 3/8%; and a fixed rate of 5 3/8% for the remaining 28 years.” (Columbus Dispatch, Sept. 15)


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