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Royce Homes - Houston-based home builder

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2008-08-19

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stories: chron.com

Update, 2008-09-05:

From a reliable source, we hear today that most major title underwriting companies (eg. Stewart Title, First American, Chicago Title, etc.) have sent word to their agents that no transaction involving Royce as Seller that hasn't already closed and funded will be eligible for title insurance. That imposes a serious problem for moving or liquidating any remaining inventory, as the properties will not be acceptable for financing without lender protection of assured clear title.

This seems likely to be catastrophic for prospects of orderly unwinding for Royce. Our read is that they will need some sort of debtor-in-possession financing to clear up these liens and release the properties, and perhaps their refusal to arrange such has brought about additional turmoil on themselves.

Implode Entry, 2008-08-19

Updated to an implode. The Houston Chron has the story, in Royce Builders winding down operations.

Ailing Entry, 2008-08-15

Word is that Houston-based Royce Homes (roycebuilders.com), one of the top 100 home builders in the country, may be scaling back operations. A hot forum discussion on Royce (merged to the below) indicates that some news may be breaking any day now regarding layoffs. One forum member who may work at Royce noted:

... No Dirt Sales, Spec Only, Corporate Layoffs as well as salary reductions. Vendors are putting us on hold, We are changing vendors to complete homes, Pulling appliances out of completed inventory to close build jobs. The rumor through the company is that a big announcement is coming Friday the 15th.

Another tipster emailed the following information regarding Royce's operations:

They've scaled back from their forays into top-ticking other markets ealrier this year... At the peak, in Houston alone, which I believe would be 2006, they were doing about 1700 closings in the Houston MSA... I think I sent you a link from the Houston Chronicle regarding the actual size... They are bigger than WCI in number of closings though WCI is surely larger in dollar volume. I believe they were in AZ, Atlanta, Carolinas, and Dallas... Low-end to first move-up builder with lackluster land positions; primarily low-end though. They were a product of the credit expansion that made your family of websites so successful.

We note per their website that Royce operates in Houston, Atlanta, Phoenix, Dallas and Charlotte. According to builderonline.com, Royce Homes was ranked as the 47th largest builder in the country, closing on over 3,000 properties between 2006 and 2007.

If you hear any information regarding Royce Builders, please be sure to post in our forums or email us here.

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Comments:

Blanche at 14:27 2008-08-12 said:
I have heard they are near bankruptcy. Is that true? Permalink
The Merlin at 21:53 2008-08-12 said:
The end is near... No Dirt Sales, Spec Only, Corporate Layoffs as well as salary reductions. Vendors are putting us on hold, We are changing vendors to complete homes, Pulling appliances out of completed inventory to close build jobs. The rumor through the company is that a big announcement is coming Friday the 15th. Permalink
The Merlin at 23:37 2008-08-13 said:
The pendulum swings fast…If you were to take a secret and put in a box so no one would know, you don’t need to punch holes in the box because it does not need air. Secrets here are stored in strainers as they leak all over the place. Everyone knows the secrets. Friday will see the company trim down to 10-15 key personnel at the corporate office. The Corporate office is said to be moving into the homes off the beltway once used by our central sales team. There are said to be 60 homes that cannot close due to the liens already filed, 20 of these homes are in our best community Westwood Gardens. This was a great company at one time. Part of the problems is the wrong people were put into the wrong places because they were a friend, they did not get there because they were the best person in that area of expertise. Two purchasing managers had never purchased, estimated, or knew the key people at our vendors. That position is critical to any company as that is how you control your costs. The sales manager that was put in place never managed and was an OK sales associate, but was a friend. Wrong people in wrong positions eroding margin and increasing costs…Both the Dallas and Phoenix divisions have been closed. Permalink
Rock at 10:33 2008-08-14 said:
Merlin,

Did you lose your job with them? :( Permalink

The Merlin at 11:00 2008-08-14 said:
I will let you know by Friday. Permalink
Justin at 11:48 2008-08-14 said:
Please post it here -- thanks for all the intelligence! Permalink
Rock at 15:06 2008-08-14 said:
Merlin,

do you work in the houston location? Permalink

The Merlin at 16:01 2008-08-14 said:
I will leave it that I work here Permalink
builderbuilding at 16:24 2008-08-14 said:
good luck to all the royce employees if this is true....but honestly, you'll be better off. wonder who the 10-15 "key" employees will be... Permalink
readed at 17:32 2008-08-14 said:
Wow...you should maybe stop posting stupid blogs about hiring friends and find a new job!! Permalink

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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.