Home Front

A blog about the economy and the Sacramento-area real estate market.

December 3, 2008
Another area home builder is biting the dust

This just in: More bad news on the home building front:

By Jim Wasserman

jwasserman@sacbee.com

kimball-hill-homes-anatolia-new-homes-sacramento-lennar-rancho-cordova-california-cambridge-homes-new.gifChicago-based Kimball Hill Homes, a significant home builder in the Sacramento region since 1995, announced Tuesday it will close its business in coming months. The announcement comes eight months after the builder, once among the nation's largest privately-held builders, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Kimball Hill, founded in 1969, represents the newest business failure to rock a Sacramento-area building scene that has already seen numerous bankruptcies, closings and downsizings as the housing market worsened in 2008.

The builder sold 100 homes this year in the capital region, ranking 16th for sales among competitors. Kimball Hill has projects in Rancho Cordova, Natomas, Elk Grove, Galt and Stockton. It sold 92 homes in 2007 in the capital region, according to industry consultant Hanley Wood Market Intelligence of Costa Mesa. The firm has also built homes in Merced and Modesto.

Nationally, Kimball Hill builds homes in California, Nevada, Illinois and Texas. The announcement capped a harsh year for the firm, which filed bankruptcy and lost its founder, David Hill, to cancer in July.

Hill addressed the North State Building Industry in Nov. 2007, telling area builders that 2008 could be a deadly year for the industry if economic conditions did not improve.

The builder has about 40 employees in Northern California, though that number will shrink to 31 "during some or all of the wind-down," the company said.

In 2007, Kimball Hill ranked 20th nationally among builders for its 3,246 sales, according to Hanley Wood.

Call The Bee's Jim Wasserman, (916) 321-1102. Read his blog on real estate, Home Front, at www.sacbee.com/blogs.

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