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California-based homebuilder, Ryland Group Inc (RYL - Snapshot Report) unveiled a new Wilmington Model at Madison community, Atlanta. Home sizes range from 3,353 to 5,232 sq. ft. The new Wilmington Model offers single-family homes with five bedrooms, four baths, a three-car garage and two levels.

These have been built in accordance with the industry standards for energy efficiencyand thus will enable homeowners to save significantly on their utility bills. The price of homes range from $345,500 to $506,500. The Madison community is located in close proximity to shopping malls, recreation parks and schools. It also has a swimming pool, the lake at Madison community, two tennis courts and a playground.

The favorable situation in the housing market has resulted in an increase in demand for new homes, where inventory levels are dropping and prices are moving up. Ryland has been constantly introducing new communities, thus capitalizing on the improving housing markets.

In early June, Ryland acquired the assets of LionsGate Homes in Dallas, Texas to gain control over the Fort Worth market, where LionsGate Homes currently operates 17 active communities. In addition, the acquisition will provide Ryland with approximately 843 lots and homes for future sales and 146 homes, which have already been sold. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

This is Ryland’s third acquisition in the past 11 months, after the acquisition of the assets of Timberstone Homes in Charlotte and Raleigh in Jul 2012 and Trend Homes in Phoenix in Dec 2012.

In the recently reported first quarter 2013, Ryland posted earnings of 43 cents per share compared to the year-ago loss of 7 cents. Ryland’s revenues in the quarter surged 73.6% year over year on the back of increase in homebuilding revenues. The company’s new orders also increased in double digits.

Ryland holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Other stocks in the homebuilding sector that are worth considering include Meritage Homes Corp (MTH - Snapshot Report), D. R. Horton Inc. (DHI - Analyst Report) and MDC Holdings Inc (MDC - Snapshot Report). While Meritage and D.R. Horton hold a Zacks Rank #1, MDC carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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