Homebuilder Donald R. Horton dead at 74

Led D.R. Horton to become nation’s largest homebuilder, a title it’s held for over 20 years

Homebuilder Pioneer Donald R. Horton Dead at 74
D.R. Horton's Donald R. Horton (D.R. Horton)

Donald R. Horton, the namesake founder of the nation’s largest homebuilder, has died, the company announced. He was 74.

David V. Auld, the company’s executive vice chairman, has been appointed by the board to take over as executive chairman, effective immediately.

“D.R. was truly a pioneer in the homebuilding industry,” Auld said. “From the first house he built in 1978 in Fort Worth, Texas, as a local homebuilder, he led the business to unprecedented growth regionally and then nationally.” 

Horton founded the company, now based in Arlington, in 1991, serving as president and CEO until 1998. He began making his mark in the industry in 1972 and was the sole executive leader in each of D.R. Horton’s predecessor companies, which date from 1978 to 1990.

Horton was known for his decentralized leadership approach, allowing mid- and lower-level management to make key decisions. While considered unorthodox at the time, this strategy has been instrumental in D.R. Horton’s success, the company said. 

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Horton also made it a point to meet everyone in the company’s field operations, extensively visiting regional offices.

D.R. Horton has closed on more than 1 million homes over the course of its 45-year history. The company was first crowned as America’s top homebuilder by volume in 2002, and it has yet to relinquish that title. D.R. Horton operates in 119 markets across 33 states, with no signs of slowing. 

D.R. Horton continues to prevail even in the wake of high mortgage rates and inflation, which have delivered a huge blow to the industry since last year. The company sold 26,456 homes in the quarter ending March 31, marking a 14 percent increase year-over-year. That’s also a 46 percent jump from the previous quarter, when it sold more than 18,000 homes. 

D.R. Horton raked in $1.2 billion in profit last quarter, up 24 percent from the same period a year ago, when it profited $942 million. Consolidated revenue for the quarter stood at $9.1 billion.

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