National homebuilder sets sights on Richmond market

california home

A D.R. Horton-built home in Glendora, California. (D.R. Horton)

The largest homebuilder in the country is homing in on the Richmond market.

Texas-based D.R. Horton, a $14 billion company publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange, is extending its reach to Central Virginia, with its sights apparently set squarely on Midlothian.

Eight job postings on the company’s website last month specify “Virginia-Midlothian” as the location for the positions, which range from land acquisition and construction managers to a marketing coordinator and sales positions.

Jessica Hansen, vice president of investor relations and communications, confirmed the company is expanding to the Richmond area, extending its presence from Northern Virginia, where it has an office in McLean. The office is one of 61 that make up the company, which is active in 79 metros in 26 states.

“We are looking forward to expanding into Southern Virginia,” Hansen said in an email, adding that it expects to close on its first Richmond-area land deal in January. She declined further comment until that deal closes.

With $14.1 billion in revenue last fiscal year, D.R. Horton is the largest homebuilder in the U.S. measured by revenue and number of homes closed. It has been ranked the country’s biggest homebuilder by Builder Magazine since 2002.

Founded in 1978, it was listed on the NYSE in 1992 under the ticker symbol “DHI.” The company’s stock was trading at $49.81 per share at market close Wednesday.

With a family of brands that includes Emerald Homes, Express Homes, Freedom Homes and Pacific Ridge Homes, D.R. Horton focuses primarily on single-family homes for entry-level homebuyers and first-time movers.

chicago home interior

The interior of a home the company built in Chicago. (D.R. Horton)

Homes range in size from 1,000 to upwards of 4,000 square feet, at prices ranging from $100,000 to $1 million and higher. For the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, D.R. Horton’s brands sold more than 45,700 homes, with an average closing price of $298,400, according to the company’s SEC filings.

Danna Markland, CEO of the Home Building Association of Richmond, said the firm’s arrival speaks highly about the local homebuilding market.

“Builders are looking at Richmond as being one of the hottest markets, and this is proof,” Markland said.

Building activity in the area has steadily increased as more builders vie for a piece of the action. Data from Integra Realty Resources-Richmond shows the number of residential building permits issues in the Richmond area in the first half of 2017 jumped 13 percent over the same period last year, with 2,294 permits issued from January to July, compared to 2,026 the first half of 2016 and 1,698 the first half of 2013. In the past decade, permit numbers were highest in 2006 with 3,083 and lowest in 2009 with 913.

New home closings from January to June this year totaled 1,613 with an average sale price of $374,302 – a 26 percent increase in closings over the same period last year.

D.R. Horton follows other relative newcomers to the Richmond homebuilding market, including Reston-based Stanley Martin Homes, which arrived in 2014, and Delaware-based Schell Brothers, which expanded here last year.

Shane Burnette, division president for Schell Brothers and vice president of HBAR’s board of directors, said D.R. Horton has joined HBAR’s membership and had representation at an event last week.

“If the largest homebuilder in the country has decided to remobilize and come to Richmond,” Burnette said, “I think that shows Richmond’s on the map.”

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8 Comments on "National homebuilder sets sights on Richmond market"

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Kevin Riley

Could be a challenge to some of our local home builders that are not on top of their game.

Daniel Graves

That’s exactly what the Richmond area needs…..more gas to add to the competitive flames of the developer. Suburban sprawl is the real thing. The continuing destruction of farmland and woodlands is demoralizing. Sick of seeing these developers getting their ways by buying hundreds of acres and destroying wildlife habitats, frustrating infrastructure, and messing with people’s peace of mine to only get rich off their cookie cutter home developments.

Bruce Milam
The Richmond SFD market has always lacked a homebuilder who would take down 20-30 lots at a time, allowing the developer the flexibility of financing more infrastructure. I encouraged DR Horton to do that 4 years ago when I introduced them to the market but they were hesitant to do so. I understand that theyve accepted this strayegy. It’s a tough market to wade into because we have a cadre of outstanding family builders. The suburbs are littered with the remnants of national builders who couldn’t compete on local soil. Let’s see if DR Horton can break that pattern. Suburban… Read more »
Michael Dodson

Yeah sure blame the proffers (not disagreeing) but the change in fees (and some policies) might encourage infill but we all know the big (hot) new developments will continue to push Amelia, Powhatan, Hanover and beyond. We will sprawl out like Northern Virginia.

Bruce Milam
Michael, The Richmond community is continuing to add 2 new jobs for every new building permit. The high demand for housing will drive rental rates and housing costs northward if we discourage housing growth. That, in turn, will stifle growth. There’s no question that there will be increased pressure on the outlying suburbs to allow housing growth, but densities will be controlled by the lack of sanitary sewer treatment facilities and other infrastructure. Meanwhile, if you took a helicopter up 2,000 feet and looked at Richmond, mostly you’d see a canopy of green from Goochland to New Kent, and from… Read more »
Daniel Graves
This is coming from a builder whom benefits from the construction of homes. Developers are like organisms- when they stop growing, their pockets start drying up. Most of them are crooked as can be. Examples are…..paying supervisors off to allow rezoning, using cheap subcontractors to build CHEAP/expensive homes so the developer reaps the majority of the money. I looked up DR Horton and the first thing that popped up was people protesting outside their office in Florida for poor quality/durable, long lasting homes. I care more about leaving the green spaces alone more than a crooked developers’ pockets, but they… Read more »
Daniel Graves

Oh yeah….by the way. Out of 83 nationally consumer reviews they had a 1.3 rating out of 5. Explain that one?

Daniel Graves

Just what the Richmond area needs, more destruction of farmland and woodlands to have the developer get rich for some more cookie cutter homes. Suburban sprawl is real and demoralizing.