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D.R. Horton Comes to Nashville

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Jan 15, 2013, 1:16pm CST

Exclusive: D.R. Horton, largest U.S. homebuilder, preparing to enter Nashville market

Staff Reporter- Nashville Business Journal
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D.R. Horton Inc., the nation's largest home builder, is preparing to expand into the Nashville market, according to multiple real estate sources.

To help enter the market, Fort Worth, Texas-based Horton (NYSE: DHI) has expressed interest in buying a privately held local builder, sources said.

Multiple attempts to reach officials with D.R. Horton were unsuccessful.

In August, Horton entered Huntsville, Ala., and the Mississippi Gulf Coast markets after buying Breland Homes, Horton's first acquisition in more than a decade, according to media reports.

Donald Tomnitz, Horton's CEO and president, told analysts during a recent earnings call that the company has been evaluating opportunities in attractive new markets. Horton operates in 77 markets in 26 states. Horton built homes in the Nashville area in the 1990s, but does not currently operate in Tennessee.

Horton sold 18,890 of its homes and posted a profit of $956 million in the 12 months that ended Sept. 30, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Horton isn't the only big builder eying Nashville.

In October, the Nashville Business Journal reported on Columbus, Ohio-based M/I Homes' (NYSE: MHO) effort to break into Nashville’s improving housing market.

Big new players entering Nashville's home construction scene would mean additional competition for local builders. At the same time, the interest speaks to the health and outlook of the local residential real estate market.

Nashville is attracting a lot of interest from out-of-state public and private builders, said Jason Brown of MetroStudy, a housing research firm.

"Nashville has always been a fairly stable market," he said. "As we've begun the upswing in the building cycle, Nashville has been one of the first (markets) to pick up."

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