Recently, Fool contributor Rick Aristotle Munarriz wrote an article about 4 stocks that might reach $1,000 before Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG). In that article, he mentioned about one homebuilder in the U.S., NVR, Inc. (NYSE:NVR). Since Aug. 2011, NVR has advanced significantly, from about $600 to more than $1,000 per share. Rick said that NVR seemed to be better than most of its peers as the company had remained profitable during the residential real estate crisis.
Let’s look closely to determine whether or not NVR is a good investment opportunity for investors now.
NVR, founded in 1980, operates in the business of construction and sale of single-family detached homes, townhomes and condominium buildings. In addition, the company also has a mortgage banking and title services business to better serve its customers. NVR has not been involved in land development. Instead, NVR, Inc. (NYSE:NVR) has acquired finished building lots at market prices from a variety of development entities under fixed price purchase agreements.
The company reported that this lot acquisition strategy avoids the risk of direct land ownership and land development. The business is divided into four main geographical segments: Mid-Atlantic, North East, Mid East and South East. The majority of its revenue, $1.88 billion, or nearly 60% of the total revenue, was generated from the Mid-Atlantic segment. The Mid East segment ranked second, with $630.4 million in revenue in 2012.
Homebuilders in general, and NVR, Inc. (NYSE:NVR) in particular, would benefit from the improving real estate market in the U.S. In January, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported that the Improving Markets Index (IMI) is on the rise, growing from 12 markets in September 2011 to 259 metropolitan areas in February 2013. Interestingly, February was the sixth consecutive month of IMI’s growth. According to NAHB, the index measures three sets of data including employment growth, house price growth and single-family housing growth to identify top improving housing markets in the U.S.
An impressive 10-year performance
The 10-year operating performance record of NVR is quite fantastic. In the worst period of the U.S. real estate market and economy during this period, NVR still reported profits. Net income dropped from nearly $700 million in 2005 to $100 million in 2008. However, the situation has improved as the net profit increased to $181 million in 2012. 2012 EPS came in at $35.12 per share and free cash flow was $252 million.
Interestingly, NVR could consistently generate profits without using a lot of leverage. As of Dec. 2012, it had $1.48 billion in total stockholders’ equity, $1.34 billion in cash and $606 million in long-term debt. As the company has kept buying back its shares in the stock market for the past five years, the accumulated treasury stock has increased significantly, from nearly $3 billion in 2008 to $4 billion in 2012.