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Comstock Holding Companies, Inc.  (CHCI)
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    Sector  Capital Goods    Industry Construction Services

Comstock Holding Companies, Inc.

Business Description


We are primarily focused on the Washington, D.C. market (Washington D.C. and the Northern Virginia and Maryland suburbs of Washington D.C.), which is the seventh largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States. Our expertise in developing traditional and non-traditional housing products enables us to focus on a wide range of opportunities within our core market. We build homes and multi-family buildings in suburban communities, where we focus on low density products such as single-family detached homes, townhomes and mid-rise multi-family buildings, and in urban areas, where we focus on high density multi-family and mixed use products. For our homebuilding operations, we develop properties with the intent to sell either as fee-simple properties or condominiums to individual unit buyers or as investment properties to investors. Our homebuilding products are designed to attract first-time, early move-up and secondary move-up buyers. We focus on products that we are able to offer for sale in the middle price points within the markets where we operate, avoiding the very low-end and high-end products. We believe our middle market strategy positions our products such that they are affordable to a significant segment of potential home buyers in our market.

Our multi-family buildings are developed as rental properties to be held and operated for our own purposes, converted at some point to for-sale condominium units or sold on a merchant build basis. When developing rental communities, we design our products to be readily convertible to condominiums. Our multi-family communities primarily target two groups: (i) young first time tenants and (ii) renters by choice.


We believe that our significant experience over the past 29 years within the Washington, D.C. market provides us with the experience necessary to identify attractive opportunities in our core market. We believe that our focus in the Washington, D.C. market, which has historically been characterized by economic conditions less volatile than many other major homebuilding markets, should provide us with an opportunity to generate attractive returns on investment and for growth.

Our land acquisition strategy is designed to maximize potential overall returns generated by homebuilding operations. We pursue land acquisition opportunities that generally fit into three categories:

Finished building lots – Whenever practical, we purchase fully developed building lots from sellers that have secured necessary entitlements and permits and have completed the land development process. This enables us to minimize the amount of land we hold in inventory and to time our acquisition of such lots with the sales of homes to be built on such lots, thereby reducing the hold time and carrying costs associated with holding the lots.

Entitled building lots – We purchase certain development sites after the land seller has secured substantially all entitlements, allowing for prompt development of the land into building lots. This affords us the opportunity to secure building lots in locations where finished building lots are not readily available, or where the price of obtaining finished lots is determined to be unaffordable.

Land options – We contract to purchase certain development sites in advance of entitlements being secured. This affords us the opportunity to design the layout of the building lots to fit our home products, while the land continues to be held by the land seller and minimizes our costs associated with carrying such land in our inventory while development permits are secured.


With respect to our homebuilding operations, we seek to minimize risk associated with fluctuating market conditions by primarily building pre-sold units and limiting the number of “spec units” (units that are not pre-sold) held in inventory. In each new community that we develop, we build model homes to demonstrate our products and to house our on-site sales operations. When practical, we execute sale-leaseback transactions on model homes. We limit building spec units in locations where there is a demand for immediate delivery of homes or where a significant number of the units in a multi-family building (such as townhouses or condominiums) have been pre-sold. We believe that by limiting the number of model homes and spec units held in inventory, we reduce our exposure to cyclical fluctuations in market values and minimize costs associated with holding inventory, such as debt service.

 




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