Professional Builder Magazine: 2015 Builder of the Year: Neal Communities

There was something about Neal Communities that elicited curiosity from competitors.

Amid the doom and gloom inflicted by the worst recession to hit the construction industry since the Great Depression, Neal was succeeding and growing. The Lakewood Ranch, Fla., builder was not only busy selling homes, but co-founder and chairman Pat Neal was also amassing acres of land without piling up huge debt. While half of the state’s 2,500 home builders went out of business between 2007 and 2012 and many others were treading water in survival mode, Pat Neal, already a prominent builder around Bradenton and Sarasota, marched toward becoming the dominant player in Southwest Florida.

Neal Communities’ sales and closings this year are expected to hit 1,078 and 966 homes, respectively, compared with the company’s 2005 pre-recession peak of 386 sales and 261 closings. Annual revenue from 2012 to last year doubled to $278 million. Increases in units sold and closed and in annual dollar sales have averaged more than 30 percent a year since the company revamped its product in 2008 by scrubbing a townhouse plan in one community and within six months rolling out new and more affordable product that could sell in a down market.

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