Which homebuilder will go bankrupt next?

When was the last time you heard of a major U.S. home builder going bankrupt? It’s been quite a while. Even though my focus right now is firmly fixed on financial institutions and mortgage lenders, I have a watchful eye on home builders. After all, I believe that the next leg down in the housing bubble involves some mix of regional and local banks and construction loans. That puts home builders front and center.

The following is a short list of home builders and their tickers on Google Finance. If one wants to make predictions, home builders with significant exposure to bubble markets like Phoenix, Miami, San Diego, San Francisco, and Las Vegas are prime candidates to fold.

One interesting company in this list is WCI Communities, a one-time high-flier with significant exposure to South Florida. Last year, Carl Icahn tried to force his way into control of the company, making a tender offer before the credit crunch hit for $22 a share, a 16% premium. The Board was able to resist Icahn’s challenge only to succumb to the market. WCI now trades for $1.73 a share and has been rumored to be on the verge of bankruptcy.

BZH Beazer Homes USA, Inc.
CTX Centex Corporation
DHI D.R. Horton, Inc.
HOV Hovnanian Enterprises, Inc.
LEN Lennar Corporation
MDC M.D.C. Holdings, Inc.
NOVS NovaStar Financial Inc.
PHM Pulte Homes, Inc.
RYL The Ryland Group, Inc.
TOL Toll Brothers, Inc.
WCI Communities, Inc.

Planned tender offer lifts WCI’s shares, MarketWatch, 13 Mar 2007
WCI Rebuffs Icahn Buyout Bid, TheStreet.com, 05 Apr 2007

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