Texans Top Home-Building Giants List : But California Companies Make Their Mark in Rental Housing

Times Staff Writer

California may have a reputation as a state where a great deal of new houses, town houses and condominiums are sold, but the "Housing Giants" survey in the July issue of Professional Builder magazine, surprisingly enough, doesn't have a single California-based builder in the list of the top 10 for-sale housing producers.

The state is home to four of the 10 most active rental housing producers--including the top one, A.G. Spanos Co., Stockton (12,446 units for total dollar volume of $574 million in 1984)--and the nation's largest producer of mobile homes, Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., Riverside (37,592 units for total dollar volume of $496 million in 1984).

Once again, the "Giant" state of Texas lives up to its reputation with the three biggest residential builders in the nation: Lincoln Property Co., Dallas, with a total 1984 dollar volume of $1,846,218,000; U.S. Home Corp., Houston, $1,103,644,000; and Centex Corp., Dallas, $1,071,400,000. These three are the members of the magazine's "Billion Dollar Club." Texas is home to 70 housing giants, second only to California's 106.

The highest ranking California builder on the list, in fifth place, is American Diversified, Costa Mesa, with 1984 dollar volume of $807,200,000, with 6,490 rental units accounting for $337 million of this volume. American Diversified had the largest dollar volume increase--$442,200,000--in 1984 of all the 474 firms on the magazine's list.

There must be something entrepreneurial in the air in Stockton, home to the 23rd ranked builder, Robertson Homes ($316,046,000 dollar volume), and the 27th, the Grupe Co. ($283,951,697), as well as the Spanos firm.

The William Lyon Co., Newport Beach, the highest ranked builder on this spring's 14th annual report of home building by The Times, ranked 28th on the Professional Builder list with 1984 dollar volume of $272,110,502.

The Times' list includes only those housing units produced in the Southland, while the shelter magazine's list includes all housing produced.

Fleetwood ranked 13th on the list, with the next highest California-based builder--Pacific Scene Inc., San Diego--ranked at 20th with 1984 dollar volume of $372,256,000. Kaufman & Broad Inc., Los Angeles, was 21st ($362,562,000); Watt Industries Inc., Santa Monica, was 22ndd ($332,879,770); Pacific Lighting Real Estate, Santa Ana, was 24th ($315,434,000) and Ponderosa Homes, Irvine, was 31st ($263,979,000). Pacific Lighting Real Estate recorded the largest percentage increase, up 344.3% from $71 million in 1983 to more than $315 million in 1984.

Shapell Industries Inc., Beverly Hills, was 35th ($248 million volume); John D. Lusk & Son, Irvine, was 36th ($241,510,180); Citation Builders, San Leandro, was 42nd ($208,800,000); Lewis Homes, Upland, was 47th ($200,480,000) and Goldrich & Kest Industries, Culver City, was 48th ($200,214,788).

Other high ranking California-based builders: Standard-Pacific Corp., Costa Mesa, 51st ($192,672,097); Coastfed Properties (formerly the Mayer Group), Beverly Hills, 52nd ($186,509,000); Barratt American, Irvine, 53rd ($184,870,000); Irvine Pacific Development Co., Newport Beach, 55th ($182,030,000); Barnett-Range Corp., Stockton, 60th ($152,360,000) and M.J. Brock & Sons Inc., Los Angeles, 62, ($145,553,000).

Not surprisingly, most of the 474 firms on the magazine's list are based in the South (46%) and the West (32%). The Sun Belt is where the residential building action is and builders are close to the action.

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