Houston Business Journal – by Jennifer Dawson
Eric Lipar has LGI Homes on a fast track for growth because the CEO wants to take the company public within the next five years.
LGI Homes recently acquired 313 home lots in the Houston area, has another 200 lots under contract and is opening an office in Phoenix — the first time it has expanded outside Texas. On top of that, the Conroe-based homebuilder broke a company record in October by closing on the sale of 57 new starter homes in one month. That breaks the previous LGI Homes record, set in February 2008, of 56 closings. The company ranked No. 12 on the Houston Business Journal list of Largest Houston-Area Homebuilders with 2009 local gross revenue of $28.5 million.
Lipar is lining up multiple capital sources and buying land and home lots to fuel strategic plans at the company, which he owns with his father, Tom Lipar. The CEO says a family-owned business only has two exit strategies — sell or go public. LGI Homes chose the stock option.
The homebuilder is opening a Phoenix office because the company needs to have operations in at least two markets besides Texas to go public, Lipar says. LGI Homes intends to expand into Atlanta or one of the Florida markets in 2012 to meet that requirement.
Tony Avila, with San Francisco-based Avila Advisors, is guiding LGI Homes on future growth plans. Avila also paired LGI Homes with New York-based GoldenTree InSite Partners earlier this year to create a $50 million joint venture to buy discounted home lots (see “LGI Homes, GoldenTree InSite targets dirt-cheap lots,” April 2, 2010, at bizjournals.com/houston). GoldenTree InSite, which goes by GTIS, was one impetus behind expanding in Phoenix. Lipar says both joint venture partners believe Phoenix is a great long-term market because it has a large inventory of finished home lots available at a discount.
Lipar expects land prices in Phoenix to hit bottom in 2011, making it a good place to sell homes in 2012. Read the rest of this entry »