Home construction companies team on Web site

Five of the largest U.S. homebuilders form a company that will launch a Web site to sell homes and offer related services and products on the Internet.

Five of the nation's largest homebuilders today unveiled plans for a new company that will sell homes and offer related services online.

The companies--Centex, D.R. Horton, Kaufman & Broad Home, Lennar and Pulte--said they will each advertise more than 200,000 homes on the new Web site. Additional listings from other major homebuilders are expected soon, they added.

The new company will operate as a separate business and will be independently run, the founders said in a statement.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

This is the latest instance of companies in one industry teaming to tackle the Internet for new business opportunities and to create a broader Web presence.

Similar sites have already made names for themselves, such as HomeStore.com, which runs several property-related sites. The company, which enjoyed a successful initial public offering last summer, also runs e-commerce sites Realtor.com and Homebuilder.com, which list thousands of homes for sale.

The five founding homebuilders said their site will differentiate itself through its immediate access to a massive amount of content, customers and brand-name support. Along with providing a search capability for available homes, they plan to offer advice and upkeep services, such as providing home maintenance information and selling related products.

The company is searching for a management team, which it expects to fill in the next month. Investment firm Salomon Smith Barney has acted as the financial adviser.