LAKEWOOD RANCH — Neal Communities, the largest locally owned homebuilder in the Manatee-Sarasota region, plans to expand north to Hillsborough County in 2014.
The projected geographic growth comes off a stellar 2013, when the Lakewood Ranch-based firm sold 826 new homes — a sales volume increase of 35% over 2012. The firm, which Pat Neal co-founded in 1970 with his father, Paul Neal Jr., also expanded south last year, when it began to build homes in Lee and Collier counties. The company now builds homes in 16 Gulf Coast communities.
The growth to Tampa is part of an overall expansion strategy, according to a release. Plans include nearly a dozen new neighborhood openings throughout 2014. “Our business plan has us doubling in size over the next five years,” Neal Communities President of Building Michael Storey says in the release, “and if the market provides us that opportunity we're going to seize it.
Adds Storey: “We have a pretty bullish outlook for the future. We believe we will continue to see the housing recovery move along coupled with overall economic improvement. That will bode well for us, so we fully anticipate that 2014 will be a good year, with sales volume and prices continuing to increase.”
The 2013 sales tally also cements the firm's comeback from the recession. For example, the company sold 141 homes in 2008, according to the release. It then shifted its strategy and focus over the next few years, while many competitors continued to struggle. The company had $139.4 million in revenues in 2012, up 25.7% from 2011, when it had $110.94 million.