ORGANIZATION AND BASIS OF PRESENTATION (Policies)
|9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2023
|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 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
|Cash and Cash Equivalents. Liquid investments with an initial maturity of three months or less are classified as cash equivalents.
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 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.
|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.
|Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
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.
|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.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 atSeptember 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
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.
|Variable Interest Entities
|In accordance with ASC 810, Consolidation, we evaluate all purchase and option agreements for land to determine whether they are a variable interest entity ("VIE"), and if so, whether we are the primary beneficiary. Although we do not have legal title to the underlying land, if we are the primary beneficiary we are required to consolidate the VIE in our financial statements and reflect its assets and liabilities as Real estate not owned and Liabilities related to real estate not owned, respectively. As a result of our analyses, we determined that as of September 30, 2023 and December 31, 2022, we were not the primary beneficiary of any VIEs from which we have acquired rights to land or lots under option contracts.
|Fair Value Disclosures
ASC 820-10, Fair Value Measurement ("ASC 820"), 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:
•Level 1 — Valuation is based on quoted prices in active markets for identical assets and liabilities.
•Level 2 — Valuation is determined from quoted prices for similar assets or liabilities in active markets, quoted prices for identical or similar instruments in markets that are not active, or by model-based techniques in which all significant inputs are observable in the market.
•Level 3 — Valuation is derived from model-based techniques in which at least one significant input is unobservable and based on the company’s own estimates about the assumptions that market participants would use to value the asset or liability.
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, less forfeitures, 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. A portion of the performance-based restricted stock awards granted to our executive officers contain market conditions as defined by ASC 718. 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 engage 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 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, Income Taxes. We evaluate our deferred tax assets, including the benefit from net operating losses ("NOLs"), by jurisdiction to determine if a valuation allowance is required. This evaluation 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 ten 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 three reportable homebuilding segments are as follows: