Single-Family Residential Developments

D.R. Horton CEO speaks at ‘Lay of the Land’ conference in Lakeland

The first phase of Apopka's Avian Pointe, shown here proved successful, and at a Thursday conference in Lakeland, the CEO of D.R. Horton told GrowthSpotter that they’re looking to bring more of the build-for-rent product type to the Orlando market.  At the conference, David Auld also spoke about how cities and counties are making it more challenging to build affordable housing.

When America’s largest homebuilder opened a Build for Rent community in Apopka several years ago, it was intended to be a test run to see how well it would do in the Orlando market.

The first phase of Avian Pointe proved successful, and at a Thursday conference in Lakeland, the CEO of D.R. Horton told GrowthSpotter that they’re looking to bring more of that product type to the area.


“It’s a long-term part of our overall strategy to produce housing,” David Auld said. “I think it’s not only Horton, but every homebuilder is going to have (BTR) in some segment of their overall platform.”

D.R. Horton CEO David Auld discussing the housing market Thursday during the Lay of the Land Conference in Lakeland.

He doesn’t know where in Central Florida D.R Horton’s next BTR community will land, but the location and demand for affordable housing make it a perfect fit, he added.


“We are still in the process of figuring out where,” he said.

Auld, who has a home in Winter Park, was a keynote speaker at the annual Lay of the Land Conference hosted by brokerage firm SVN Saunders Ralston Dantzler at Bonnet Springs Park.

At the conference, he touched on the need for more affordable housing and how local government jurisdictions, especially larger cities, and counties, are doing little to help the situation with regulations, restrictions, and slow-moving approval processes.

“Affordability is driving sales and closings, and the further you get away from major employment centers the more affordable you can be,” he said. “It seems like when a city or county hits a certain size, they all of a sudden become experts in land entitlement and they want to help everybody who owns a piece of land maximize the absolute cost it takes to build” on that land.

Just to produce a single lot, even before vertical construction can begin, can cost up to $65,000 once you factor in labor costs, grading equipment, government fees and more, Auld said.

“Our motto over the last ten years: How do we simplify every aspect of what we do — whether it’s the application process or design process — to allow us to build more houses for less money.”

D.R. Horton is the top-selling home builder in the country, ranking first on the Builder 100 in 2022. That’s based on 2021 data when the company closed on 81,981 homes. They are behind some of the largest master-planned communities in Central Florida, including Greystone in Polk County, Kindred and Harmony in Osceola County and Orange County’s Waterleigh.

“If I knew how to get cities to approve projects where we can offer them at an affordable price, we’d be double the size we are today,” Auld said.


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