Aided by low supply and low interest rates, the 25 largest residential developers in L.A. County sold 4,817 homes in 2002, up 4.4 percent from the 4,615 recorded in 2001, according to Meyers Group data.

No. 2 Lennar Corp. moved closer to No. 1 KB Home, selling 392 homes in 2002, nearly twice the number from the previous year. The Miami-based company, along with LNR Property Corp., announced its intention last month to acquire Newhall Land and Farming Co., owner of tens of thousands of entitled acres in the growing North County area.

Standard Pacific Corp. showed the greatest growth, vaulting more than dozen spots to No. 9. The homebuilder sold 218 homes in 2002, a 680 percent increase over the prior year, and with 88 homes sold in the first quarter of 2003, it was on track to beat those numbers.

D.R. Horton Inc. and Pardee Homes both dropped significantly, with home sales cut almost in half for each of the homebuilders. No. 10 Shea Homes also saw a decline in sales volume, shedding 9.6 percent to 217 homes sold in 2002.

Nicole Taylor


KB Home

KB Home retained its place as L.A. County's most active homebuilder, but its competition is moving closer.

The Los Angeles-based company sold 522 homes in the county in 2002, a 20.2 percent decline from the year previous, according to Meyers Group data.

Companywide, KB Home fared better, increasing its numbers by 3 percent, closing 25,565 unit sales. Revenues also rose, climbing 10 percent in 2002, to $5 billion, compared with $4.6 billion in 2001.

Founded in 1957, KB Home has eight active projects in L.A. County, all located in the booming North County area, centering on Santa Clarita and Lancaster. The company, which concentrates on first-time buyers, made the majority of its local sales in the $250,000 to $400,000 price range.

KB Home will be further expanding in North County, where it is developing a project called Anaverde in Palmdale, said Tom DiPrima, division president of the greater L.A. area. Slated to begin delivering homes in the second half of 2004, the master-planned community, a partnership between KB Home and Empire Capital LLC, will have 1,400 homes in its first phase, with as many as 5,200 at build out. While most of the lots will be sold off to other developers, KB Home will have four subdivisions in the project totaling 400 homes, selling from between $150,000 to more than $350,000.

KB Home will also be venturing into the more developed areas of the county, with a project at Playa Vista scheduled to come online in 2006.

DiPrima said the company anticipates growth, with no slowdown seen from the increase in interest rates. "The L.A. market has been fantastic," said DiPrima. "The bigger challenge has been finding home sites than selling homes."

Nicole Taylor

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