Housing Market Tracker - Homebuilder News

Includes: BZH, CAA, KBH, MDC, PHM, TOL
by: Judy Weil

Homebuilder News

Bigger Buildings? Council Set To Vote On Toll Bros. Plan. NJ: “The Jersey City City Council is scheduled to vote tonight on amendments to the Powerhouse Arts District Redevelopment Plan that would allow the developer Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL) to exceed height and density standards in the original plan… Toll owns three lots in the Powerhouse Arts district... The proposed density exceeds the redevelopment plan by about 20%, city officials said… In return, Toll proposes several amenities and an affordable housing component [such as] a 550-seat performing arts theater and the 24,000-square-foot Provost Square plaza. Toll would also contribute $1.5 million to the startup of the theater.” (NJ.com, Mar. 26th)

MDC To Seek Approval For Bad-Time Bonuses. “In 2006, bonuses for MDC Holdings CEO Larry Mizel and President David Mandarich topped $20 million, per a predetermined formula that gave them a slice of the company's profits. [In 2007,] (NYSE:MDC) paid Mizel and Mandarich bonuses of $2M apiece even though the formula suggested zero. (The company posted a net loss of $637 million last year… MDC shareholders will now be asked to approve [a] new bonus plan that… gives MDC’s comp committee discretion to pay bonuses when times are bad… MDC shareholders will also consider a plan to reprice stock options, resetting the exercise price at current levels.” (Rocky Mountain News, Mar. 26th)

Beazer Hearings Nearing Completion. “The ongoing hearings about the Beazer Homes (NYSE:BZH) deals are entering their final phase and the public will soon weigh in on the two-decades-old plans… The contract between Beazer and the borough was struck in 1989 and called for 590 homes to be built on 233 acres, with extra commercial and retail development. The development would triple the population of the borough and was supported by the council in the late 1980s. In 2006, however, the borough council voted to revoke the agreement. A judge subsequently sent the project back to council, when the hearings began.” (New Jersey Herald, Mar. 26th)

Toll Heliport Gets No Support. Pennsylvania: "Toll Brothers will not get the support it wanted from Horsham Council in its quest to reopen its heliport. At Monday's meeting, council unanimously voiced concern about the landing spot... The heliport was approved by the state in 2005, but permits were never obtained from the township." (Philly Burbs, Mar. 25th)

KB Home Subdivision To Feature Smaller Floor Plans. California: “KB Home (NYSE:KBH) plans to shrink the size of many of the homes they are trying to sell at "Shady Grove," the proposed 101-home development… To date, only a handful of houses in the subdivision has been built... Officials said the developer has had difficulty selling spacious floor plans that were originally priced upward of $700,000. Original floor plans ranged in size from 2,250-3,400-sf. The new floor plans under consideration range from 1,690-2,275-sf, according to the March 17 Fallbrook Planning Group agenda… Eileen Delaney, a member of the Fallbrook Planning Group: Only eight homes out of the proposed 101 homes have been sold.” (North County Times, Mar. 25th)

Active Adults Targeted By New Community. Texas: “Home builder Pulte Homes (NYSE:PHM) is bringing to Richmond its concept of a “lifestyle” community for baby boomers and retirees. The Del Webb community of Richmond… will be limited to individuals and couples 55 and over, and will occupy more than 500 acres for what is called a “lifestyle-oriented, age-restricted, active adult community.” Kimberly Paulus, VP, Operations for the community: The project will be valued at $350 million, and annual tax revenue has been estimated at $7.7M. Active adult communities tend to require less municipal services than other communities, including street maintenance and police services.” (Fort Bend Herald, Mar. 25th)

Wimpey Merger Generates Big Payouts. “When John Landrum resigned last July after 28 days as president and CEO of Taylor Morrison, the North American arm of the newly merged U.K.-based builders Taylor Woodrow and George Wimpey, he walked away with a termination agreement that would pay him $1,625,824, according to Taylor Wimpey's recent annual financial report for 2007. The termination agreement sum equaled a year's worth of his $650,000 base salary plus a bonus of 1 1/2 times his base salary.” (Big Builder Online, Mar. 24th)

Standard Pacific Gets Default Waiver. “On Thursday, Standard Pacific Corp.’s board appointed a new CEO… [On] Monday (SPF) said its bank group has given it 45 days... until May 14, to renegotiate the debt covenants it is violating... [In] the most recent waiver, SPF’s revolving credit facility maximum was decreased from $900 million to $700M. As of March 21, the company had borrowed $90M from the revolver and had $49M in letters of credit outstanding. SPF [also] said it has made another payment on its 6% senior notes that are coming due in October, putting in another $22M… lower[ing] the outstanding amount to $104M. In Q4'07, it made a $24M payment on that same note.” (Big Builder Online, Mar. 24th)

Toll Brothers Opens Montevista. “Toll Brothers has opened Montevista, a new master planned home community… in Cave Creek, Ariz. Montevista features five collections of one- and two-story home designs ranging from 2,799-5,125-sf… Homes are priced from the upper $500,000s… to the upper $900,000s.” (Press Release, Mar. 24th)

Fire Rips Through KB Condos. California: “A sprawling KB Home condo project under construction in Woodland Hills was engulfed by flames this morning, causing damage to about one quarter of the 191-unit condo complex… which is under construction. Damage estimates weren’t immediately available… Early reports said that KB will more than likely be forced to rebuild [an] entire wing of the complex. The sales center for the project is open and the condos were supposed to be ready for occupancy this spring… Last year KB said it planned to sell the units in the $300,000-$600,000 range.” (Los Angeles Business Journal, Mar. 24th)

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