ORGANIZATION AND BASIS OF PRESENTATION (Policies)
|9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2016
|Organization, Consolidation and Presentation of Financial Statements [Abstract]
|Basis of Presentation
Basis of Presentation. The accompanying unaudited consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (“GAAP”) for interim financial information and with the instructions to Form 10-Q and Article 10 of Regulation S-X. Accordingly, they do not include all of the information and footnotes required by GAAP for complete financial statements. These financial statements should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2015. The consolidated financial statements include the accounts of Meritage Homes Corporation and those of our consolidated subsidiaries, partnerships and other entities in which we have a controlling financial interest, and of variable interest entities (see Note 3) in which we are deemed the primary beneficiary (collectively, “us”, “we”, “our” and “the Company”). Intercompany balances and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation. In the opinion of management, the accompanying unaudited financial statements include all adjustments (consisting only of normal recurring entries), necessary for the fair presentation of our results for the interim periods presented. Results for interim periods are not necessarily indicative of results to be expected for the full year.
|Cash and Cash Equivalents
Cash and Cash Equivalents. Liquid investments with an initial maturity of three months or less are classified as cash equivalents.
Real Estate. Real estate is stated at cost unless the asset is determined to be impaired, at which point the inventory is written down to fair value as required by Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 360-10, Property, Plant and Equipment (“ASC 360-10”). Inventory includes the costs of land acquisition, land development, home construction, capitalized interest, real estate taxes, capitalized direct overhead costs incurred during development and home construction that benefit the entire community, less impairments, if any. Land and development costs are typically allocated and transferred to homes under construction when construction begins. Home construction costs are accumulated on a per-home basis, while selling costs are expensed as incurred. Cost of home closings includes the specific construction costs of the home and all related allocated land acquisition, land development and other common costs (both incurred and estimated to be incurred) that are allocated based upon the total number of homes expected to be closed in each community or phase. Any changes to the estimated total development costs of a community or phase are allocated to the remaining homes in the community or phase. When a home closes, we may have incurred costs for goods and services that have not yet been paid. An accrued liability to capture such obligations is recorded in connection with the home closing and charged directly to cost of sales.
We rely on certain estimates to determine our construction and land development costs. Construction and land costs are comprised of direct and allocated costs, including estimated future costs. In determining these costs, we compile project budgets that are based on a variety of assumptions, including future construction schedules and costs to be incurred. It is possible that actual results could differ from budgeted amounts for various reasons, including construction delays, labor or material shortages, increases in costs that have not yet been committed, changes in governmental requirements, or other unanticipated issues encountered during construction and development and other factors beyond our control. To address uncertainty in these budgets, we assess, update and revise project budgets on a regular basis, utilizing the most current information available to estimate construction and land costs.
Typically, a community's life cycle ranges from three to five years, commencing with the acquisition of the land, continuing through the land development phase, if applicable, and concluding with the sale, construction and closing of the homes. Actual community lives will vary based on the size of the community, the sales absorption rate and whether the land purchased was raw, partially-developed or in finished status. Master-planned communities encompassing several phases and super-block land parcels may have significantly longer lives and projects involving smaller finished lot purchases may be shorter.
All of our land inventory and related real estate assets are reviewed for recoverability, as our inventory is considered “long-lived” in accordance with GAAP. Impairment charges are recorded to write down an asset to its estimated fair value if the undiscounted cash flows expected to be generated by the asset are lower than its carrying amount. Our determination of fair value is based on projections and estimates. Changes in these expectations may lead to a change in the outcome of our impairment analysis, and actual results may also differ from our assumptions. Such an analysis is conducted if there is an indication of a decline in value of our land and real estate assets. The impairment of a community is allocated to each lot on a straight-line basis.
Deposits. Deposits paid related to land options and purchase contracts are recorded and classified as Deposits on real estate under option or contract until the related land is purchased. Deposits are reclassified as a component of real estate inventory at the time the deposit is used to offset the acquisition price of the lots based on the terms of the underlying agreements. To the extent they are non-refundable, deposits are charged to expense if the land acquisition is terminated or no longer considered probable. Since our acquisition contracts typically do not require specific performance, we do not consider such contracts to be contractual obligations to purchase the land and our total exposure under such contracts is limited to the loss of the non-refundable deposits and any ancillary capitalized costs.
Goodwill. In accordance with ASC 350, Intangibles, Goodwill and Other ("ASC 350"), we analyze goodwill on at least an annual basis to determine whether it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying amount, including goodwill. ASC 350 states that an entity may first assess qualitative factors to determine whether it is necessary to perform a two-step goodwill impairment test. Such qualitative factors include: (1) macroeconomic conditions, such as a deterioration in general economic conditions, (2) industry and market considerations such as deterioration in the environment in which the entity operates, (3) cost factors such as increases in raw materials and labor costs, and (4) overall financial performance such as negative or declining cash flows or a decline in actual or planned revenue or earnings. If the qualitative analysis determines that additional impairment testing is required, the two-step impairment testing in accordance with ASC 350 would be initiated. We continually evaluate our qualitative inputs to assess whether events and circumstances have occurred that indicate the goodwill balance may not be recoverable. Under the guidelines contained in ASC 350, we evaluate goodwill for impairments annually or more frequently if deterioration in our inputs exists. See Note 9 for additional information related to goodwill.
|Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements - Joint Ventures. In the past, we have participated in land development joint ventures as a means of accessing larger parcels of land and lot positions, expanding our market opportunities, managing our risk profile and leveraging our capital base; however, in recent years, such ventures have not been a significant vehicle for us to access lots. See Note 4 for additional discussion of our investments in unconsolidated entities.
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements - Other. In the normal course of business, we may acquire lots from various development entities pursuant to option and purchase agreements. The purchase price generally approximates the market price at the date the contract is executed (with possible future escalators). See Note 3 for additional information on off-balance sheet arrangements.
Surety Bonds and Letters of Credit. We provide letters of credit in support of our obligations relating to the development of our projects and other corporate purposes. Surety bonds are generally posted in lieu of letters of credit or cash deposits. The amount of these obligations outstanding at any time varies depending on the stage and level of completion of our development activities. Bonds are generally not released until all development activities under the bond are complete. In the event a bond or letter of credit is drawn upon, we would be obligated to reimburse the issuer for any amounts advanced under the bond. We believe it is unlikely that any significant amounts of these bonds or letters of credit will be drawn upon.
Warranty Reserves. We provide home purchasers with limited warranties against certain building defects and we have certain obligations related to those post-construction warranties for closed homes. The specific terms and conditions of these limited warranties vary by state, but overall the nature of the warranties include a complete workmanship and materials warranty typically during the first one to two years after the close of the home and a structural warranty that typically extends up to 10 years subsequent to the close of the home. With the assistance of an actuary, we have estimated these reserves for the structural warranty based on the number of homes still under warranty and historical data and trends for our communities. We also use industry data with respect to similar product types and geographic areas in markets where our experience is incomplete to draw a meaningful conclusion. We regularly review our warranty reserves and adjust them, as necessary, to reflect changes in trends as information becomes available.
|Recent Accounting Pronouncements
Recent Accounting Pronouncements.
In August 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") issued Accounting Standards Update ("ASU") No. 2016-15, Classification of Certain Cash Receipts and Cash Payments (Topic 230), ("ASU 2016-15"). ASU 2016-15 adds and clarifies guidance on the classification of certain cash receipts and payments in the statement of cash flows, reducing the existing diversity in practice that has resulted from the lack of consistent principles on this topic. ASU 2016-15 is effective for us beginning January 1, 2018. Early adoption is permitted. We are currently evaluating the impact adopting this guidance will have on classifications in our statement of cash flows.
In March 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-09, Compensation - Stock Compensation (Topic 718): Improvements to Employee Share-Based Payment Accounting ("ASU 2016-09"). ASU 2016-09 simplifies several aspects of the accounting for share-based payment transactions, including the income tax consequences, classification of awards as either equity or liabilities, and classification on the statement of cash flows. ASU 2016-09 is effective for us beginning January 1, 2017. We are currently evaluating the potential impact of adopting this guidance but do not expect it to have a material impact on our consolidated financial statements.
In February 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842) ("ASU 2016-02"), which amends the existing accounting standards for lease accounting, including requiring lessees to recognize most leases on their balance sheets. ASU 2016-02 will be effective for us beginning January 1, 2019, and early adoption is permitted. ASU 2016-02 requires a modified retrospective transition approach for all leases existing at, or entered into after, the date of initial application, with an option to use certain transition relief. We are currently evaluating the impact adopting this guidance will have on our financial statements.
In April 2015, the FASB issued ASU 2015-03, Interest — Imputation of Interest (Subtopic 835-30): Simplifying the Presentation of Debt Issuance Costs (“ASU 2015-03”). ASU 2015-03 requires that debt issuance costs related to a recognized debt liability, other than those related to a revolving debt arrangement, be presented on the balance sheet as a direct deduction from the carrying amount of that debt liability, consistent with debt discounts. In August 2015, the FASB issued ASU 2015-15, Presentation and Subsequent Measurement of Debt Issuance Costs Associated with Line-of-Credit Arrangements - Amendments to SEC Paragraphs Pursuant to Staff Announcement at June 18, 2015 EITF Meeting ("ASU 2015-15"), which clarifies the treatment of debt issuance costs from line-of-credit arrangements after the adoption of ASU 2015-03. In particular, ASU 2015-15 clarifies that the SEC staff would not object to an entity deferring and presenting debt issuance costs related to a line-of-credit arrangement as an asset and subsequently amortizing the deferred debt issuance costs ratably over the term of the line-of-credit arrangement, regardless of whether there are any outstanding borrowings on the line-of-credit arrangement. ASU 2015-03 represents a change in accounting principle and was effective on January 1, 2016 and was applied on a retrospective basis. The adoption of ASU 2015-03 resulted in a retrospective reclassification of our debt costs as described above from Prepaids, other assets and goodwill to Senior and convertible senior notes, net on our December 31, 2015 balance sheet in the amount of $10.7 million. As allowed by ASU 2015-15, we elected not to reclassify deferred debt issuance costs associated with our Credit Facility and continue to present these capitalized costs as an asset.
In February 2015, the FASB issued ASU 2015-02, Consolidation: Amendments to the Consolidation Analysis (Topic 810) ("ASU 2015-02"). ASU 2015-02 changes the analysis that a reporting entity must perform to determine whether it should consolidate certain types of legal entities. ASU 2015-02 was effective for us beginning January 1, 2016 and had no effect on our consolidated financial statements.
In May 2014, the FASB issued ASU 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606), (“ASU 2014-09”). ASU 2014-09 requires entities to recognize revenue that depicts the transfer of promised goods or services to customers in an amount that reflects the consideration to which the entity expects to be entitled in exchange for those goods or services by applying the following steps: (1) identify the contract(s) with a customer; (2) identify the performance obligations in the contract; (3) determine the transaction price; (4) allocate the transaction price to the performance obligations in the contract; and (5) recognize revenue when (or as) the entity satisfies a performance obligation. ASU 2014-09 supersedes the revenue recognition requirements in ASU 605, Revenue Recognition, most industry-specific guidance throughout the industry topics of the ASC, and some cost guidance related to construction-type and production-type contracts. Subsequent to the issuance of ASU 2014-09, the FASB issued several amendments in 2016 to the original standard including ASU 2016-08, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606): Principal versus Agent Considerations (Reporting Revenue Gross versus Net), ASU 2016-10, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606): Identifying Performance Obligations and Licensing and ASU 2016-12, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606): Narrow Scope Improvements and Practical Expedients. These amendments do not change the core principle of the guidance stated in ASU 2014-09. Rather, they are intended to clarify and improve understanding of certain topics included within the revenue standard. ASU 2014-09 and the related amendments are effective for us on January 1, 2018. Early adoption is permitted only as of annual reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2016. We are currently evaluating the potential impact adopting this guidance will have on our consolidated financial statements.
|Variable Interest Entities
Based on the provisions of the relevant accounting guidance, we have concluded that when we enter into a purchase or option agreement to acquire land or lots from an entity, a variable interest entity, or “VIE”, may be created. We evaluate all purchase and option agreements for land to determine whether they are a VIE. ASC 810, Consolidation, requires that for each VIE, we assess whether we are the primary beneficiary and, if so, consolidate the VIE in our financial statements and reflect such assets and liabilities as Real estate not owned. The liabilities related to consolidated VIEs are generally excluded from our debt covenant calculations.
In order to determine if we are the primary beneficiary, we must first assess whether we have the ability to control the activities of the VIE that most significantly impact its economic performance. Such activities include, but are not limited to: the ability to determine the budget and scope of land development work, if any; the ability to control financing decisions for the VIE; the ability of the VIE to acquire additional land or dispose of land not under contract with Meritage; and the ability to change or amend the existing option contract with the VIE. If we are not determined to control such activities, we are not considered the primary beneficiary of the VIE. If we do have the ability to control such activities, we will continue our analysis by determining if we are also expected to absorb a potentially significant amount of the VIE’s losses or, if no party absorbs the majority of such losses, if we will benefit from a potentially significant amount of the VIE’s expected gains.
In substantially all cases, creditors of the entities with which we have option agreements have no recourse against us and the maximum exposure to loss in our option agreements is limited to non-refundable option deposits and any capitalized pre-acquisition costs. Often, we are at risk for items over budget related to land development on property we have under option if we are the land developer. In these cases, we have contracted to complete development at a fixed cost for our benefit, but on behalf of the land owner, and any budget savings or shortfalls are typically borne by us. Some of our option deposits may be refundable to us if certain contractual conditions are not performed by the party selling the lots.
|Fair Value Disclosures
We account for non-recurring fair value measurements of our non-financial assets and liabilities in accordance with ASC 820-10 Fair Value Measurement ("ASC 820"). This guidance defines fair value, establishes a framework for measuring fair value and addresses required disclosures about fair value measurements. This standard establishes a three-level hierarchy for fair value measurements based upon the significant inputs used to determine fair value. Observable inputs are those which are obtained from market participants external to the company while unobservable inputs are generally developed internally, utilizing management’s estimates, assumptions and specific knowledge of the assets/liabilities and related markets. The three levels are defined as follows:
If the only observable inputs are from inactive markets or for transactions which the company evaluates as “distressed”, the use of Level 1 inputs should be modified by the company to properly address these factors, or the reliance of such inputs may be limited, with a greater weight attributed to Level 3 inputs.
Compensation cost related to time-based restricted stock awards is measured as of the closing price on the date of grant and is expensed on a straight-line basis over the vesting period of the award. Compensation cost related to performance-based restricted stock awards is also measured as of the closing price on the date of grant but is expensed in accordance with ASC 718-10-25-20, Compensation – Stock Compensation ("ASC 718"), which requires an assessment of probability of attainment of the performance target. As our performance targets are dependent on performance over a specified measurement period, once we determine that the performance target outcome is probable, the cumulative expense is recorded immediately with the remaining expense recorded on a straight-line basis through the end of the award vesting period. Beginning with grants in 2014, a portion of the performance-based restricted stock awards granted contain market conditions as defined by ASC 718. The guidance in ASC 718 requires that compensation expense for stock awards with market conditions be expensed based on a derived grant date fair value and expensed over the service period. We engaged a third party to perform a valuation analysis on the awards containing market conditions and our associated expense with those awards is based on the derived fair value from that analysis and is being expensed straight-line over the service period of the awards.
|Income Tax Policy
We determine our deferred tax assets and liabilities in accordance with ASC 740-10, Income Taxes ("ASC 740"). We evaluate our deferred tax assets, including the benefit from NOLs, by jurisdiction to determine if a valuation allowance is required. Companies must assess whether a valuation allowance should be established based on the consideration of all available evidence using a “more likely than not” standard with significant weight being given to evidence that can be objectively verified. This assessment considers, among other matters, the nature, frequency and severity of cumulative losses, forecasts of future profitability, the length of statutory carry forward periods, experiences with operating losses and experiences of utilizing tax credit carry forwards and tax planning alternatives.
We operate with two principal business segments: homebuilding and financial services. As defined in ASC 280-10, Segment Reporting, we have nine homebuilding operating segments. The homebuilding segments are engaged in the business of acquiring and developing land, constructing homes, marketing and selling those homes and providing warranty and customer services. We aggregate our homebuilding operating segments into reporting segments based on similar long-term economic characteristics and geographical proximity. Our current reportable homebuilding segments are as follows:
Management’s evaluation of segment performance is based on segment operating income, which we define as homebuilding and land revenues less cost of home construction, commissions and other sales costs, land development and other land sales costs and other costs incurred by or allocated to each segment, including impairments. Each reportable segment follows the same accounting policies described in Note 1, “Organization and Basis of Presentation.” Operating results for each segment may not be indicative of the results for such segment had it been an independent, stand-alone entity for the periods presented.