Stranded at Low Tide

STANDSTILL: Partially completed housing developments, such as this one in Lehigh Acres, Fla., have devastated south Florida's building material suppliers. Some of the nation's biggest LBM operations have pulled out of the area. Local dealers are making drastic changes and, so far, are surviving.

Growth Market? Weeds and brush obscure the prep work done at this long-stepped development in Cape Coral, Fla. In terms of housing starts recorded in the 75 markets nationally tracked by Hanley Wood Market Intelligence, the three south Florida markets rank 72nd, 74th, and 75th.

GOING, GOING, GONE: South Florida used to be a hot territory for America's biggest LBM chains. But over the past year, Stock Building Supply, ProBuild, Builders FirstSource, and BMHC have either downsized or abandoned the region entirely.

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