Largest Columbus homebuilder sells to Virginia company

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The largest Columbus home builder has sold out to a Virginia company.

Grayhawk Homes Inc. was acquired by American Southern Homes, LLC on Friday, according to Grayhawk president Dave Erickson.

The terms of the deal were not announced.

Grayhawk is the largest Columbus home builder — by a long shot. According to the city, there were 290 residential housing permits issued over the last year. Grayhawk pulled 147 of those, more than half.

The question is how did Grayhawk president Dave Erickson come to corner the Columbus homebuilding market.

“It’s a classic small business model,” Erickson said. “Very seldom is there a huge avenue of opportunity out there for anybody, in this case, a builder, to walk in. You got to start by working where opportunity allows. And when I started, as you say, the opportunity was the entry-level market that wasn’t being well served. And we just started there, kept putting one foot in front of the other and kept picking up extra opportunities along the way.”

It started in 1993 when he began building $60,000 homes in south Columbus after leaving the U.S. Army. He started small, and steadily grew over the years.

The deal with American Southern transfers the ownership of more than than 1,550 lots in the Grayhawk inventory.

“The 1,500 lots is actually the pipeline of future lots,” Erickson said. “We actually transacted everything in progress beyond that. The number is probably more like 1,700 if you counted everything today. That’s a long pipeline of future business for Grayhawk in the area.”

When Erickson started, he found a niche at the lower end of the market.

“It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t sexy,” he said. “To your point, when I first started, it was the bare-bones entry-level market, It was the market that wasn’t profitable per unit in terms of dollars, but it wasn’t building big, pretty monuments to how good a builder you could be. It was just building good, basic, simple houses. It has expanded and evolved over the years, but that was the niche that was open when we started.”

Erickson and his wife Rose Anne, a local Realtor who lists all of the Grayhawk homes, plan to remain in the Columbus area.

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