Ryland stays atop sales list Builder maintains slim lead over Ryan in Baltimore area

Market share may shrink

Company recorded gains in all regions except mid-Atlantic

February 11, 1996|By Daniel H. Barkin | Daniel H. Barkin,SUN STAFF

Ryland Homes remains the largest residential builder in the Baltimore area, selling 10.3 percent of the region's new homes last year. But it clung to its lead only by a cul-de-sac or two, according to a new Legg Mason Realty Group survey.

The Columbia-based Ryland sold 961 new homes locally in 1995, staying ahead of Ryan Homes, with 944 sales and a 10.1 percent share, the survey reported. Third was Pulte Home Corp., with 494 sales, and 5.3 percent of the market.

But Ryland's share of Baltimore market sales could shrink in coming years.

Ryland, the third-largest homebuilder in the country, recorded sales increases in all regions except the mid-Atlantic. In the Baltimore area, Ryland sold 14 percent fewer homes in 1995 than in 1994, despite a 4.2 percent growth in the number of new homes sold by all builders, according to Legg Mason.

Last week, in reporting 1995 financial results, Ryland said it was "redistributing capital investment to other markets" where it believes it can earn higher profits. Ryland cited "economic uncertainties and competitive pressures" in the Mid-Atlantic.

But a company spokesman, Anne Madison, said later, "I wouldn't expect to see any drastic reduction" in Ryland's operations in the Baltimore area.

"It probably sounds like more than it is," Ms. Madison said. Around 25 percent of Ryland sales come from its mid-Atlantic region, which ranges from Northern Virginia to Philadelphia. That will drop to 20 percent over time, according to R. Chad Dreier, chairman and chief executive officer of The Ryland Group.

Ryland experienced a pretax loss of $2.5 million last year in its homebuilding business, excluding a noncash charge related to its land inventories. Mr. Dreier said he expects better results in 1996 because more sales are coming from newer communities with better home designs and locations.

"We will continue to focus on growing the company's profit margins, rather than the volume of homes we build," he said.

Ryland sold in 49 new-home communities in the Baltimore region last year. Its detached homes had an average price of $196,050, below the region's average, which ranged from $205,000 to $214,000 over the year. Its townhouses averaged $125,084, slightly higher than the regional average of about $120,000, according to the Legg Mason survey of builders.

The survey showed that Ryan and Pulte continue to grow market share last year.

Both sold more homes locally than they did in 1994, and more than in 1993, one of the best years in this decade.

Two of the fastest-growing builders are Masonry Contractors, based in Carroll County, and Bob Ward Homes, headquartered in Harford County. Masonry moved up from 15th in the Legg Mason rankings in 1994 to fifth for 1995, as its sales in the region grew by nearly two-thirds.

Bob Ward Homes went from 11th to seventh, its sales growing by more than 30 percent, according to the survey.

The top 20 builders in the Baltimore region sold nearly 55 percent of the new homes last year.

Baltimore County had the most new homes built last year, 2,654, followed closely by Anne Arundel County, with 2,646. Harford County had 1,507; Howard County had 1,493; Carroll County had 904, and Baltimore City had 132 new homes built, according to Legg Mason. Nearly 44 percent of all new homes sold were townhomes, and detached homes made up just under 42 percent, with the rest condominiums.

Top 10 Baltimore builders

Here is a list of the top 10 builders in the Baltimore region in 1995. Units sold during the year include detached homes, townhomes and condominiums. Figures reflect sales contracts, not settlements.

Builder ................... Units sold .................... Market share

Ryland Homes .............. 961 ........................... 10.3%

Ryan Homes ................ 944 ........................... 10.1

Pulte Home Corp. .......... 494 ........................... 5.3

Trafalgar House ........... 247 ........................... 2.6

Masonry Contractors ....... 207 ........................... 2.2

Universal Housing Corp. ... 202 ........................... 2.2

Bob Ward Homes ............ 198 ........................... 2.1

Regency Homes ............. 190 ........................... 2.0

Bozzuto Homes ............. 189 ........................... 2.0

Patriot Homes ............. 181 ........................... 1.9

Source: Legg Mason Realty Group, Housing Market Profile

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