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A Rural Tract Builder for the Ages

Published May 31, 2024 by
Joe Kannapell
Joe Kannapell

No one has put more people of modest means into their own homes than Mr. D.R. Horton, who passed away in May. Founding the D.R. Horton company in 1978, Mr. Horton began serving this market in the 1980s in Texas, when mortgage rates were 12%, and the company continues today in Virginia with 7% rates, though in a much-changed environment. Forty years ago, Mr. Horton and his peers built many dozens, if not hundreds, of houses on large plots in metro areas. Today, they continue to do this, but they also will build a handful of houses on scattered lots in rural communities, and it is these that serve an otherwise overlooked clientele.

Most new hires to big city firms cannot afford to buy a home unless they can work remotely. This is particularly true in metro D.C., but, fortunately, many of the jobs in federal agencies and with their contractors lend themselves to remote work, with infrequent office attendance. Hiring in these types of jobs will continue to be brisk, to replace the waves of baby boomers who are retiring. These new hires overwhelmingly want to work remotely, even if they need to drive into their workplace one or two days per week. And, they mostly want a newly constructed home.

These incoming workers will likely buy houses, like they buy everything else, via the Internet. There they can search, view, and virtually walk through every affordable new home within a few hours’ radius of their employer. Most likely, they’ll prefer a recognized national brand, like D.R. Horton, America’s Builder. And, they’ll find that they can pay as low as $265,000 in the quaint mountain community of Luray or pay a little extra to be in LaPlata or Locust Grove. These are not massive tracts, but a handful of homes that are nestled amidst an established community. 

Hats off to D.R. Horton for developing a staff able to manage these far-flung jobsites and for grooming suppliers and trades capable of serving them – and, in the process, giving many more individuals their piece of the American Dream. 

*Photo of Luray Landing courtesy of D.R. Horton