Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)


9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2023
Organization, Consolidation and Presentation of Financial Statements [Abstract]  
Organization. Meritage Homes Corporation ("Meritage Homes") is a leading designer and builder of single-family attached and detached homes. We primarily build in historically high-growth regions of the United States and offer a variety of entry-level and first move-up homes. We have operations in three regions: West, Central and East, which are comprised of ten states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Utah, Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. We also operate a financial services reporting segment. In this segment, we offer title and escrow, mortgage, and insurance services. Carefree Title Agency, Inc. ("Carefree Title"), our wholly-owned title company, provides title insurance and closing/settlement services to our homebuyers in certain states. Managing our own title operations allows us greater control over the entire escrow and closing cycles in addition to generating additional revenue. Meritage Homes Insurance Agency, Inc. (“Meritage Insurance), our wholly-owned insurance broker, works in collaboration with insurance companies nationwide to offer homeowners insurance and other insurance products to our homebuyers. Our financial services operation also provides mortgage services to our homebuyers through an unconsolidated joint venture.
We commenced our homebuilding operations in 1985 through our predecessor company, Monterey Homes. Meritage Homes Corporation was incorporated in the state of Maryland in 1988 under the name of Homeplex Mortgage Investments Corporation and merged with Monterey Homes in 1996, at which time our name was changed to Monterey Homes Corporation and later ultimately to Meritage Homes Corporation. Since that time, we have engaged in homebuilding and related activities. Meritage Homes Corporation operates as a holding company and has no independent assets or operations. Its homebuilding construction, development and sales activities are conducted through its subsidiaries. Our homebuilding activities are conducted under the name of Meritage Homes in each of our homebuilding markets. At September 30, 2023, we were actively selling homes in 272 communities, with base prices ranging from approximately $231,000 to $1,054,000.
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 audited consolidated financial statements in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022. The unaudited consolidated financial statements include the accounts of Meritage Homes 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 consolidated financial statements include all normal and recurring adjustments that are considered 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 fiscal year.
Cash and Cash Equivalents. Liquid investments with an initial maturity of three months or less are classified as cash equivalents. Amounts in transit from title companies or closing agents for home closings of approximately $81.1 million and $161.5 million are included in Cash and cash equivalents at September 30, 2023 and December 31, 2022, respectively.
Real Estate. Real estate inventory is stated at cost unless the community or land 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”). Real estate inventory includes the costs of land acquisition, land development and home construction, capitalized interest, real estate taxes, and 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 when home construction begins. Home construction costs are accumulated on a per-home basis, while selling and marketing 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 that community or phase. When a home closes, we may have incurred costs for materials and services that have not yet been paid. We accrue a liability to capture such obligations in connection with the home closing which is charged directly to Cost of home closings.
We capitalize qualifying interest to inventory during the development and construction periods. Capitalized interest is included in Cost of closings when the related inventory is closed. Included within our Real estate inventory is land held for development and land held for sale. Land held for development primarily represents land and land development costs related to land where development activity is not currently underway but is expected to begin in the future. For these parcels, we have chosen not to currently develop certain land holdings as they typically represent a portion or phases of a larger land parcel that we plan to build out over several years. We do not capitalize interest for these inactive assets, and all ongoing costs of land ownership (i.e. property taxes, homeowner association dues, etc.) are expensed as incurred.
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. Actual results can differ from budgeted amounts for various reasons, including construction delays, labor or material shortages, sales orders absorptions that differ from our expectations, increases in costs that have not yet been contracted, changes in governmental requirements, or other unanticipated issues encountered during construction and development and other factors beyond our control, including weather. 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 home construction and land development 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 construction, sale and closing of the homes. Actual community lives will vary based on the size of the community, the sales orders absorption rates 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 significantly shorter.
All of our land inventory and related real estate assets are periodically reviewed for recoverability when certain criteria are met, but at least annually, as our inventory is considered “long-lived” in accordance with GAAP. Community-level reviews are performed quarterly to determine if indicators of potential impairment exist. If indicators of potential impairment exist and the undiscounted cash flows expected to be generated by an asset are lower than its carrying amount, impairment charges are recorded to write down the asset to its estimated fair value. The impairment of a community is allocated to each remaining unstarted lot in the community on a straight-line basis and is recognized in Cost of home closings in the period in which the impairment is determined. 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, although if financial metrics improve, we do not reverse impairments once recorded. See Note 2 for additional information related to real estate.
Deposits. Deposits paid related to land option 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 at the time the deposit is used to offset the acquisition price of the land based on the terms of the underlying agreements. To the extent they are non-refundable, deposits are expensed to Cost of home closings 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 any non-refundable deposits and any related capitalized costs. Our Deposits on real estate under option or contract were $93.5 million and $76.7 million as of September 30, 2023 and December 31, 2022, respectively. See Note 3 for additional information related to Deposits on real estate under option or contract.
Goodwill. In accordance with ASC 350, Intangibles, Goodwill and Other ("ASC 350"), we analyze goodwill on an annual basis (or whenever indication of impairment exists) through a qualitative assessment to determine whether it is necessary to perform a goodwill impairment test. ASC 350 states that an entity may first assess qualitative factors to determine whether it is necessary to perform a 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, labor costs, etc.; 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, a two-step impairment test 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. See Note 9 for additional information on our goodwill assets.
Leases. We lease certain office space and equipment for use in our operations. We assess each of these contracts to determine whether the arrangement contains a lease as defined by ASC 842, Leases ("ASC 842"). In order to meet the definition of a lease under ASC 842, the contractual arrangement must convey to us the right to control the use of an identifiable asset for a period of time in exchange for consideration. Leases that meet the criteria of ASC 842 are recorded on
our balance sheets as right-of-use ("ROU") assets and lease liabilities. ROU assets are classified within Prepaids, other assets and goodwill on the accompanying unaudited consolidated balance sheets, while lease liabilities are classified within Accrued liabilities on the accompanying unaudited consolidated balance sheets.
The table below outlines our ROU assets and lease liabilities (in thousands):
As of
September 30, 2023 December 31, 2022
ROU assets $ 49,619  $ 19,129 
Lease liabilities 52,340  22,782 
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements - Joint Ventures. We may participate in land development joint ventures as a means of accessing larger parcels of land, expanding our market opportunities, managing our risk profile, optimizing deal structure for the impacted parties and leveraging our capital, although our participation in such ventures is currently limited. 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 purchase and option agreements. The purchase price generally approximates the market price at the date the contract is executed (with possible future escalators) and the acquisition of the land is typically staggered. See Note 3 for additional information on these off-balance sheet arrangements.
Surety Bonds and Letters of Credit. We provide surety bonds and letters of credit in support of our obligations relating to the development of our projects and other corporate purposes in lieu of cash deposits. The amount of these obligations outstanding at any time varies depending on the stage and level of our development activities. Surety bonds are generally not wholly 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 or letter of credit. We believe it is unlikely that any significant amounts of these bonds or letters of credit will be drawn upon.
The table below outlines our surety bond and letter of credit obligations (in thousands):
As of
  September 30, 2023 December 31, 2022
  Outstanding Estimated work
remaining to
Outstanding Estimated work
remaining to
Sureties related to owned projects and lots under contract $ 1,005,561  $ 738,545  $ 926,928  $ 616,028 
Total Sureties $ 1,005,561  $ 738,545  $ 926,928  $ 616,028 
Letters of Credit (“LOCs”):
LOCs for land development 35,554  N/A 49,442  N/A
LOCs for general corporate operations 5,000  N/A 5,000  N/A
Total LOCs $ 40,554  N/A $ 54,442  N/A

Accrued Liabilities. Accrued liabilities at September 30, 2023 and December 31, 2022 consisted of the following (in thousands):
As of
  September 30, 2023 December 31, 2022
Accruals related to real estate development and construction activities $ 145,467  $ 139,447 
Payroll and other benefits 107,413  110,338 
Accrued interest 18,257  7,026 
Accrued taxes 28,674  25,182 
Warranty reserves 39,145  35,575 
Lease liabilities 52,340  22,782 
Other accruals 21,796  20,265 
Total $ 413,092  $ 360,615 
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 for the first year after the close of the home, a major mechanical warranty for two years after the close of the home and a structural warranty that typically extends up to 10 years after 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 geographies. We may 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. Based on such reviews of warranty costs incurred, we did not adjust the warranty reserve balance in the three or nine months ended September 30, 2023 or 2022. Included in the warranty reserve balances at September 30, 2023 and December 31, 2022 are case-specific reserves for warranty matters, as discussed in Note 15.
A summary of changes in our warranty reserves follows (in thousands):
  Three Months Ended September 30, Nine Months Ended September 30,
  2023 2022 2023 2022
Balance, beginning of period $ 36,215  $ 31,437  $ 35,575  $ 26,264 
Additions to reserve from new home deliveries 6,444  5,583  16,832  15,419 
Warranty claims and recoveries (3,514) (5,305) (13,262) (9,968) (1)
Adjustments to pre-existing reserves —  —  —  — 
Balance, end of period $ 39,145  $ 31,715  $ 39,145  $ 31,715 
(1)     Includes recoveries for costs incurred over several years on a foundation design and performance matter that affected a single community in Texas.
Warranty reserves are included in Accrued liabilities on the accompanying unaudited consolidated balance sheets, and additions and adjustments to the reserves are included in Cost of home closings within the accompanying unaudited consolidated income statements. These reserves are intended to cover costs associated with our contractual and statutory warranty obligations, which include, among other items, claims involving defective workmanship and materials. We believe that our total reserves, coupled with our contractual relationships and rights with our trades and the insurance we and our trades maintain, are sufficient to cover our general warranty obligations. However, unanticipated changes in regulatory, legislative, weather, environmental or other conditions could have an impact on our actual warranty costs, and future costs could differ significantly from our estimates.
Revenue Recognition. In accordance with ASC 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, we apply the following steps in determining the timing and amount of revenue to recognize: (1) identify the contract with our customer; (2) identify the performance obligation(s) in the contract; (3) determine the transaction price; (4) allocate the transaction price to the performance obligations in the contract, if applicable; and (5) recognize revenue when (or as) we satisfy the performance obligations. The performance obligations and subsequent revenue recognition for our three sources of revenue are outlined below:
Revenue from home closings is recognized when closings have occurred, the risks and rewards of ownership are transferred to the buyer, and we have no continuing involvement with the property, which is generally upon the close of escrow. Revenue is reported net of any discounts and incentives.
Revenue from land closings is recognized when a significant down payment is received, title passes, and collectability of the receivable, if any, is reasonably assured, and we have no continuing involvement with the property, which is generally upon the close of escrow.
Revenue from financial services is recognized when closings have occurred and all financial services have been rendered, which is generally upon the close of escrow.
Home closing and land closing revenue expected to be recognized in any future year related to remaining performance obligations (if any) and the associated contract liabilities expected to be recognized as revenue, excluding revenue pertaining to contracts that have an original expected duration of one year or less, is not material. Revenue from financial services includes estimated future insurance policy renewal commissions as our performance obligations are satisfied upon issuance of the initial policy with a third party broker. The related contract assets for these estimated future renewal commissions are not material at
September 30, 2023 and December 31, 2022. Our three sources of revenue are disaggregated by type in the accompanying unaudited consolidated income statements.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements.
There are no recent accounting pronouncements that are expected to have a material impact on our financial statements or financial statement disclosures.