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Kara Homes, Inc. - Residential Home Builder

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2006-10-05

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stories: gmnews.com, builderonline.com, bigbuilderonline.com

The East Brunswick, NJ-based Kara homes declared bankruptcy on October 5, 2006, after a slowdown in the housing market quickly starved the company of cash.

From this article comes more background:

Kara Homes was founded in 1999 by its president, Zudi Karagiozi, whose goal was to build more than 20 luxury developments, many designed exclusively for residents 55 years of age or older, throughout New Jersey.

As far as size, this article has more:

By 2002, Kara Homes' had earned a spot on BUILDER magazine's Fast Track list for its explosive growth. And by 2005, the company was closing on 590 homes a year and pulling in gross revenues of $288 million.

Kara went down so early in the downturn, some commentators were even denying the downturn had anything to do with it. However it appears Kara was simply a "canary in the coal mine" because its practices were measurably more imprudent than most (according to the above article):

But because competition with market leaders such as K. Hovnanian, Toll Brothers, and Ryan Homes was ferocious, Karagjozi tried to box out the big boys by outbidding them for lots. He quickly became “infamously known for overpaying for land,” says one local source.

However, since the market has deteriorated, Karagjozi's brash moves now are exposed as imprudent. The builder's sales pace has slowed in the past six months, buoyed sporadically by incentives and deep discounts ranging to $246,000 for spec homes.

When absorption rates or home sale prices fall in a community, the price paid for land is called into question, especially if a lender provided a majority of the debt needed to acquire the land.

In a poignant illustration of the kind of corporate propaganda that ruled the housing bubble, Mike Shedlock points out how Kara went from boasting of record profits to filing bankruptcy in the span of less than a month.

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Important: This company is on our list of builder operations that have "imploded" (see also ailing lenders). This is a somewhat subjective call, and does not necessarily mean total shutdown or bankruptcy. It can also mean steep and rapid declines in enterprise value; or abnormal "bail-out" by corporate parents or peers in order to continue to operate. The builders may be residential or commercial.