Hovnanian Checks Out

Bye Bye First Homes first_home An ugly era in the annuls of Southwest Florida real estate history came to an end yesterday when Hovnanian sold the last 1,409 lots it owns in Southwest Florida. Hovnanian sold these remaining lots to a Czech investment group for about $3,000 each, a far cry from the peak value about 15X greater during the boom. You may recall that Hovnanian was the NJ based firm that acquired local power-house builder First Homes back at the height of the market boom in 2005.  Many attribute much of the blame of the current SW Florida market woes to First Homes and others who built sub-par starter homes in remote sections of Lehigh and Cape Coral and agressively marketed them to unqualified investors. The acquisition proved to be a disaster for Hovnanian, as they missed their earnings projection the first quarter after the deal closed and have had financial difficulties since the acquistion. Superstar Southwest Florida broker Frank D'Alessandro and his connected sidekick Samir Cabrera were shilling for First Homes with a very shady lease-to-own deal.  With superstar broker Frank D'Alessandro dead, his sidekick Samir Cabera heading to jail, Samir's wife and TV Anchor Jessica Stillwell disgraced and off the air and Samir's father-in-law former Lee County Manager Don Stillwell booted from office things have not gone well for this crew of First Homes pitchmen. See you later First Homes, while you certainly were interesting to blog about, your legacy in Southwest Florida is not a good one.

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