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Meritage Homes enters Charlotte market

BY HBSDealer Staff

Meritage Homes has opened a new division in Charlotte, N.C., expanding its Southeast Region operations. The division plans to open its first communities in the Charlotte area later this year.

The home builder opened new divisions in Raleigh, N.C., and Tampa, Fla., last year.

Rick Roberson has been named Charlotte division president. He has nearly 10 years of home-building experience and was most recently with the company’s Texas Region.

"Meritage has built a great reputation in the Orlando and Raleigh markets, and our homes have been very well-received by buyers there for the tremendous value and quality of living we offer," said Fred Vandercook, president of Meritage Homes Southeast Region. "We plan to offer similar homes in Charlotte and have every confidence that Rick and his team will be equally successful."

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Net sales increase at HD Supply

BY Brae Canlen

HD Supply reported net sales for its first fiscal quarter of $1.8 billion, a 14.2% increase compared with the same quarter in 2011. Operating income for the first quarter, which ended April 29, 2012, rose from $35 million in the first quarter of 2011 to $43 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2012. 

The company also completed the refinancing of nearly $4 billion in outstanding indebtedness during the quarter. The debt refinancing effectively extended the maturity dates of the senior portion of the company’s debt structure to the years 2017 through 2020. The company now has no significant debt maturities until its 13.5% senior subordinated notes mature in mid-2015. 

Net sales improved in all four of its core businesses: Facilities Maintenance, Waterworks, Utilities/Electrical, and White Cap. The company sold its Industrial Pipes, Valves and Fittings (IPVF) business to Shale-Inland Holdings for proceeds of approximately $469 million, minus $5 million in transaction costs. 

“As a result of the debt refinancing and sale of our IPVF business, we have added financial strength and flexibility to invest in future growth initiatives and explore future niche acquisition opportunities that will grow our portfolio and continue to enhance market share,” said CEO Joe DeAngelo.

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In Congress, a multi-family builder criticizes budget

BY Brae Canlen

An increase in multi-family mortgage insurance premiums (MIPs), part of the current administration’s fiscal 2013 budget proposal, will slow down construction of apartments in secondary markets, a National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) representative told Congress on June 7.

Bob Nielsen, the immediate past chairman of NAHB and a multifamily home builder from Reno, Nev., testified before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity on the proposal to raise the MIPs in order to reduce defaults. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has failed to provide an analysis on how higher MIPs would affect borrowers, lenders or renters who live in properties insured under the programs.

"The proposed increases will not provide a buffer against future FHA losses because there is no segregated fund and excess income is simply returned to the U.S. Treasury each year," said Nielsen. "Increases will only add to property owners’ costs, thereby affecting rents and discouraging the production of rental housing."

Nielsen also pointed out that MIP increases would hurt market rate rental properties in the secondary markets where credit is limited because private capital currently is focusing lending activities in the strongest markets and for well-capitalized large developers.

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