Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Attainable Profit

From Planetizen and the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Toll Brothers, a publicly-listed housing construction firm, is one of the largest in the United States, and it specializes in using its financial and political clout to profitably and legally address zoning problems.

During 2005 Toll reportedly earned a massive disclosed average profit of $92,000 per new home built.

"Dean Baker, a national housing expert, called Toll's per-home profit 'incredible' and an example of how the so-called housing bubble has fueled growth at home builders. The profitability likely propelled Toll Bros. to construct and sell as many of its high-priced luxury homes, some call them suburban mansions, as it could, he said.

But Toll Bros. is paying for the good times. New orders for its homes fell almost 30 percent in the quarter that ended Jan. 31 as the housing market cooled. The company's stock price has plunged 40 percent since early August, closing Thursday at $32.74.

...Toll Bros. used its pipeline of low-cost land to its advantage in 2005, too, he said. When it can, the company acquires land that is legally contested and then sues for the right to develop it.

'Not a lot of builders have the stomach to sit on the land, fight city hall, and fight the environmentalists,' East said. 'But it's what they believe they are good at.' "

Read the article. Enough said.

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