Ryland to buy builder in area; Thomas Builders deal will increase share in Baltimore area


The Ryland Group Inc. made its first builder acquisition in the Baltimore metropolitan area yesterday, reaching an agreement to purchase Columbia-based Thomas Builders LLC.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The purchase will help increase the market share of Columbia-based Ryland Homes in the area. T. Kevin Carney, president of Thomas Builders, a privately owned company with 22 employees, has been operating the company as a small niche builder of townhouses and single-family detached homes. The company was founded in 1991 in Baltimore.

Thomas Builders is building in four communities -- three in Owings Mills and one in Glen Burnie. Those will be added to the 13 area communities that Ryland is operating in once the deal is completed in 30 days, said Edward Gold, president of the Baltimore Division of Ryland Homes.

According to the Meyers Group, a Washington-based company that tracks new home construction, Ryland was the area's second-largest home builder through the first half of this year, with 5.5 percent of the market. It trails Ryan Homes Inc., which accounted for 15.5 percent of the Baltimore market. Thomas Builders, which completed 120 homes last year, was not among the top 20 builders.

"We want to grow our market dominance in the area, no doubt about it," Gold said.

Gold said Ryland is not actively seeking to absorb other builders in the area, but added that the company would be interested in companies similar to Thomas Builders, which builds homes in the $150,000-to-$205,000 range.

"Our products don't overlap, but the people that we're targeting do," Gold said. "So having more product for the first-time buyer and the first-time move-up [buyer] was very appealing to us."

Gold said Carney will act as a consultant to Ryland, but will continue to operate his existing rental property construction and management company under the Thomas Builders name. All of Thomas Builders' current for-sale home communities will be marketed under the Ryland name.

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