Signature Homes is marking its 45th anniversary in 2023 and leads the way among privately owned homebuilders in Las Vegas.
In 1978, Richard and Wendy Plaster founded Plaster Development Co., which operates today as Signature Homes, a Las Vegas family business with what they call “an unwavering commitment to building quality new construction homes, value and customer satisfaction.”
Signature started as a homebuilder, constructing more than 13,000 homes, apartments and condominiums throughout Las Vegas. With building, they own and manage over 1,100 apartments and 170 single-family rental homes.
“What we have done as a company to stay in business for 45 years after a lot of private builder competitors have fallen by mergers, acquisitions and bankruptcies is a great story,” President Rick Barron said. “We are the oldest continuously operated private builder. It’s celebrating we’re flexible and nimble as a company and being able to weather the market fluctuations.”
Barron said Signature has survived the traditionally volatile ups and downs of the housing market by paying attention to the industry cycles and not overgrowing and overcommitting. As a prime example, Richard Plaster stopped buying land in the mid-2000s ahead of the Great Recession, which would decimate the homebuilding industry.
Signature, which has about 88 employees, is on track to start about 75 homes this year with plans for twice that in 2024.
“We’ve also accelerated our program to build more for-rent housing,” Barron said.
Signature has three for-sale home communities in the southwest valley and plans to launch a townhome project in the northwest valley as part of a build-to-rent community of 31 homes at the I-95 and Durango Road. Construction will start in August, and units will be available by spring 2024, with rents probably starting in the $1,900s per month depending on the market at the time.
Three other for-sale townhome communities are planned for the northwest, southwest and North Las Vegas, with prices probably starting in the high $300,000s depending on the market.
“They represent a brand new product line we have been trying to bring into the market for rent and for sale to work with the affordability concerns,” Barron said. “They are taking over our entry-level lowest price point. We feel like we are the pioneers of build-to-rent. We did our first community in 2007 called Habitat@DTLV (with 92 homes) and as much as we like building homes for sale, we like holding onto them. They are good investments and give us exit strategies should the market change.”
The Signature townhomes will be 1,400 square feet to 1,500 square feet, two stories with attached garages and private yard space and will include solar.
Signature still has two communities with a few homes available: Bluemont Trails at Grand Canyon Drive and Blue Diamond Road and Blue Sky Trails at Edmond and Le Baron streets. Price points today are $450,000 to $525,000. The two-story homes run from 1,800 square feet to 2,600 square feet, and Blue Sky Trails includes solar.
Signature is selling a single-story community of 10 lots at Lindell Road and Serene Avenue with construction expected to start in August. Those homes will range from 2,400 square feet to 3,200 square feet and be priced from the low $600,000s to mid-$700,000s to start. Solar is included.
“They are brand-new designs with multigenerational options on all of them,” Barron said. “We think since they don’t allow accessory dwelling units in Nevada and household sizes will continue to grow, people will look for multigenerational options. It’s attached to the house, but a couple of them have separate entries. It can be used as an office, too. They are sizable and have a sitting room, bedroom, bath, kitchenette and attached garage options.”
Signature is engaged in various endeavors. It’s under contract to acquire additional land in the southwest valley and is on track to deliver several finished lots to builders who are lacking available land to start construction.
“We are under contract on one and likely to go under contract in a couple of weeks on a few more parcels,” Barron said. “We have done that the last couple of years when we thought we had more land than we needed to build on and saw it as an opportunity to do something we are good at.”
In the market outlook, the demand has come back steady for the housing market as people looking for homes have become accustomed to higher interest rates, but there is a lack of inventory available, whether it’s new homes or resales. The rising percentage of new homes purchased in Las Vegas continues because of the limited availability of existing homes in the market, as people are reluctant to take out new mortgages with high interest rates, Barron said.
As Signature looks to its 50th anniversary, Barron said they look for continued stability while remaining flexible in how it operates. He said it’s great to draw on the experience of founder Richard Plaster and his philosophy.
“It’s about being family-owned and knowing it’s not only important to us but to our customers to deliver a quality product and give them a great customer experience,” Barron said.