Habitat for Humanity is a big builder

The not-for-profit builder of affordable housing was the eighth-largest in the United States in 2009.

By Charley Blaine Jul 2, 2010 2:14PM

Housing bust in the Rockaways © MSN MoneyWe're not making this up. Builder Magazine ranks Habitat for Humanity, the nonprofit builder and remodeler of homes, as the eighth-largest builder in terms of transactions closed.

The ranking was based on 2009 transactions. Habitat for Humanity was ranked ahead of Ryland Group (RYL) but behind Hovnanian (HOV).

In 2008, Habitat for Humanity was ranked 11th.

The organization enjoyed 5,294 closings in 2009, down 3% from 2008. It expects to close about 5,000 deals this year,  The Wall Street Journal said.

By contrast, Ryland's closings fell 30%. Hovnanian's fell 50%.

Habitat's ability to outbuild some of those big corporate builders reflects the insatiable demand for affordable housing in a nation where more than a quarter of the population can't afford a median-priced home in their area.

Habitat has some advantages by being a nonprofit. It receives donated building products and relies heavily on volunteers for construction. It can have just one paid staffer on a build site.

The recession has hurt Habitat's finances, the Journal noted. The group laid off 8% of its corporate staff last year, and its cash donations declined 9% from a year earlier to $171.8 million.
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