Florida Family to Compete with Production Homebuilders

Originally published by: Orlando SentinelDecember 12, 2017

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A family team known for launching and selling home-construction companies is rolling out its newest venture, Hanover Family Builders, with nine communities in Osceola and Lake counties.

Even as Central Florida’s pool of home builders shrinks with consolidations, such as the recent merger of Lennar Homes and CalAtlantic Homes, the three brothers launching Hanover plan 1,000 houses in the Orlando region during the next two years. The family-owned business hopes to compete against more than 20 publicly traded companies building homes in the Central Florida market.

“We're not concerned with being the biggest, so that takes a little pressure off us,” said Matt Orosz, co-president of Hanover builders. “And, also, our creativity and history go a long way. We're still very much a handshake kind of family.”

Hanover faces competition with increasingly powerful and well-financed national builders, said Chassity Vega, director of Greater Orlando Builders Association. But the Orosz family has experience on its side, she added. Brothers Matt, Stephen and Andrew Orosz created Royal Oak Homes in 2011 and sold it in 2014 to AV Homes for $65 million in cash, according to AV. Before that, the Orosz family opened Cambridge Homes in the 1990s and sold it in 2005.

“Land is so expensive and financing is so expensive and that why all the deals are being made with the Wall Street companies,” Vega said. “We are starting to see some of the smaller guys go a littler further out of the core Orlando market where prices are better.”

CBRE First Vice President Robert McEwan works with national residential development groups trying to purchase Central Florida property and said smaller companies sometimes have advantages because they can make decisions faster without awaiting corporateapprovals or can more easily retain decision-makers.

"A lot of them are transitional and they miss opportunities because they change site-selection people," he said.

Hanover communities outlined by Orosz include:

  • Ardmore Reserve in Minneola offering 50- and 70-foot lots, with DreamFinders.
  • Cypress Oaks in Groveland offering 50-foot lots, with Century Homes.
  • The Preserve at Sunrise in Groveland, with Richmond American Homes.
  • Windsong near Leesburg offering a range of 50- to 70-foot lots, developed by Hanover.
  • Sorrento Springs near Sorrento offering a golf course, developed by Hanover.
  • Overlook Reserve in Kissimmee offering 50-foot lots, developed by Hanover.
  • Hanover Lakes in St. Cloud offering a boat system that connects 400 of its 600 lots to canals feeding Alligator Lake, with presales expected in March or April.
  • Pinewood Gardens in St. Cloud is in the building-permit stage with construction planned for January.

A key difference Hanover faces, Orosz said, is that buyers are not as willing to pay more for larger lots. With escalating land prices, lot sizes are shrinking. He said he expects 30-foot townhomes in at least some of the Hanover communities.

And unlike the past, he said he doesn’t expect the family to sell off the new company any time soon. Orosz described it as a “legacy company.”