Ryland Group buys Philly builder Cornell Homes

California-based Ryland Group Inc., a publicly-traded national homebuilder and home-finance lender with projects in all the suburban counties surrounding Philadelphia, says it has purchased Cornell Homes, of Media, for an undisclosed price. Cornell boss Greg Lingo will continue to run the operation for Ryland, and Ryland says it is hiring Cornell's employees. Cornell currently owns 97 homes available for sale, 1,716 unbuilt lots and 8 model homes in 12 ongoing developments.

In a statement, Ryland boss Larry Nicholson called the deal "consistent with our strategy of expanding into markets that present opportunities for growth."  Ryland bought North Carolina's Timberstone Homes last summer, Arizona's Trend Homes last winter, and LionsGate Homes of Dallas in June. 

The suburban home market collapsed in the financial crisis of 2008, pressing builders to seek urban or apartment projects or to shut down; construction has shown recent signs of revival, thanks partly to cheap mortgage rates backed by federal loan guarantees.