Keepin' It Real Estate: Homebuilders Facing Extinction
Consolidation necessary for recovery to take hold.
Just ask guys in charge.
The Wall Street Journal reports many homebuilder CEOs socked away such obscene amounts of cash over the past 5 years that they out-earned their Wall Street counterparts. As profits soared, Toll Brothers (TOL) CEO Robert Toll and his brother Bruce together took home $773 million, while Dwight Schar, chairman of Virginia-based NVR (NVR) earned more than $625 million from stock sales.
By contrast, vilified Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo earned a mere $471 million during the same period.
Sitting on huge -- but dwindling -- stockpiles of cash, big builders like DR Horton (DHI), Lennar (LEN) and Ryland Homes (RYL) have thus far ridden out the bloodletting. According to JPMorgan analyst Michael Rehaut, these 3 may yet see positive cash flow in 2009.
Their smaller rivals, however, may not be so lucky.
Rehaut predicts that Pulte Home (PHM) and KB Home (KBH) could see negative cash flow next year - and some analysts believe 2009 could finally be the year that weaker hands start to fold. Credit protection for Hovnanian (HOV), Standard Pacific (SPF) and Beazer Home (BZH) is trading like the companies' failure is a foregone conclusion.
Meanwhile, one key characteristic of market bottoms is notably absent: Consolidation.
Just as strong American banks have swallowed up the weak, no meaningful housing market bottom will be found until homebuilders begin to feast on one another.
Let's face it: We don't need 10 different multi-billion dollar companies churning out indistinguishable cookie-cutter "mansions" on tiny lots in cramped subdivisions miles from the nearest grocery store. We've got our hands full already, thank you very much.
Yesterday, the Commerce Department said October housing starts registered the lowest reading since 1959. Since just 4 of the 10 builders mentioned in this article existed 50 years ago, it looks like 6 are pretty much dispensable.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opin=
=3D =3D3D ion about the performance of securities and financial markets by =
the wr=3D iter=3D3D s whose articles appear on the site. The views expresse=
d by the wri=3D ters are=3D3D not necessarily the views of Minyanville Medi=
a, Inc. or members=3D of its man=3D3D agement. Nothing contained on the web=
site is intended to con=3D stitute a recom=3D3D mendation or advice address=
ed to an individual investor =3D or category of inve=3D3D stors to purchase=
, sell or hold any security, or to =3D take any action with re=3D3D spect t=
o the prospective movement of the securit=3D ies markets or to solicit t=3D=
3D he purchase or sale of any security. Any inv=3D estment decisions must b=
e made =3D3D by the reader either individually or in =3D consultation with =
his or her invest=3D3D ment professional. Minyanville write=3D rs and staff=
may trade or hold position=3D3D s in securities that are discuss=3D ed in =
articles appearing on the website. Wr=3D3D iters of articles are requir=3D =
ed to disclose whether they have a position in =3D3D any stock or fund disc=
us=3D sed in an article, but are not permitted to disclos=3D3D e the size o=
r direct=3D ion of the position. Nothing on this website is intende=3D3D d =
to solicit bus=3D iness of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Mi=
ny=3D3D anville mana=3D gement and staff as well as contributing writers wi=
ll not respo=3D3D nd to em=3D ails or other communications requesting inves=
Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Daily Recap Newsletter