Clayton Properties Group bought Colorado's largest private homebuilder, Oakwood Homes, in what is now the company's fourth and largest acquisition of a site-build firm, according to Builder.
Oakwood, which owns as many as 4,000 lots and controls 18,000, has been at the forefront of innovation among homebuilders with its use of BIM and panelized construction.
Oakwood founder and CEO Pat Hamill will continue to run the company, fueled by the Berkshire Hathaway–owned Clayton, which aims to grow its buyer base with products priced from up to $150,000 for manufactured homes and $225,000 and up for entry-level single-family properties.
Clayton's latest acquisition marks another step for the off-site building giant toward its goal of expanding its consumer base through its standby manufactured and new site-built homes.
Clayton Properties Group, a division of Clayton Home, entered the site-built business in the fall of 2015. The company kicked off with the acquisition of Georgia homebuilder Chafin Communities. In April 2016, it bought Gallatin, TN-based Goodall Homes, which builds single-family homes, townhomes and condominiums. And in November, Clayton acquired Kansas City, MO’s, largest site-build company, Summit Custom Homes, which came with 1,200 lots in and around the city.
What makes the latest buy different is Oakwood’s focus on building technology, particularly through BIM and panelization, mirroring Clayton’s own processes for creating manufactured housing in a factory and then shipping it to the job site for assembly. Offsite construction is gaining interest industry-wide for its ability to streamline and standardize construction, particularly in residential applications. One outcome of the acquisition could be that Clayton is honing its focus on melding the two businesses — offsite and manufactured housing — through factory-based construction.
For one thing, Clayton earlier this year launched a division to deliver manufactured homes from its fabrication facilities to retail home centers, meaning it has some built-in capacity to ship large components to the job site.
Meanwhile, Oakwood's land supply will be a boon for Clayton amid an ongoing lot shortage that continues to constrain builders and drive up prices for developers. As Clayton charts new territory in the site-built category, it can use its market heft to spur growth within Oakwood, which comes with the land needed for increased activity.
Deals and other partnerships between and among homebuilders and developers, such as D.R. Horton's recent purchase of Forestar Group, are being incited by builders searching for easier access to land and new markets. Forestar holds 50 residential and mixed-use developments across 10 U.S. states. Other recent examples include D.R. Horton’s purchase of southeast builder Wilson Parker Homes and Lennar’s acquisition of WCI.