Meritage not resting on its heritage - East Valley Tribune: Business

Meritage not resting on its heritage

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Posted: Friday, October 21, 2005 6:50 am | Updated: 7:27 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The long-term prospects for the housing industry are positive, as homebuilders face strong demand from retiring baby boomers and their children, who are entering the home market for the first time.

"Housing is going to be one of the strongest industries in the next decade," said Steven Hilton, co-chairman and cochief executive officer of Meritage Homes, a $3 billion Scottsdale-based homebuilder.

The housing industry is often seen as merely enjoying the short-term success, spurred by low interest rates. But baby boomers are in their peak spending years and will likely inherit $1 trillion in wealth from their parents — Depression-era savers, Hilton said. Meanwhile, the baby boomers’ children are now buying homes for the first time, he said.

Those and other changing demographics will help "contribute to a run-rate of 2 million homes . . . A 25 percent increase over the next decade compared to last," Hilton said. "The question is where?"

With markets across Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas and Florida, Hilton said officials have positioned the company to take advantage of the population’s continued westward press.

And the Valley in particular is "the epicenter of it. For climate, quality of life, jobs, affordability, transportation," Hilton said.

Hilton’s firm has built more than 10,000 homes in the Valley.

The company has seen 17 years of consecutive recordsetting revenue and net earnings figures.

Third-quarter figures show orders rose 51 percent to $970 million, compared with $643 million during the third quarter of 2004. Revenue from home closings increased 63 percent to $753 million companywide.

MERITAGE FACTS

• Builds in Arizona, California, Nevada, Colorado, Texas and Florida.

• Based in Scottsdale with 1,400 employees.

• East Valley communities include Heartland Ranch (Coolidge), Desert Valley (Mesa), Rancho Bella Vista (Queen Creek), Estates at San Tan Vista (Chandler), Campo Verde (Chandler) and Mission Royale, an active adult community in Casa Grande.

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