BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. -

PulteGroup, one of the country's biggest homebuilders, is planning to move its headquarters to Atlanta from the suburbs of Detroit next year.

The company said Friday that the relocation will put it closer to its customers and a bigger portion of its investment portfolio. PulteGroup's operations in the Southeast, from northern Virginia to Florida, made up 37 percent of its home closings in 2012. In 2000, about 72 percent of its business investments were outside of Michigan and nearby Midwest markets. By 2012 that figure was at 92 percent.

"The company has reached a point where we must pursue a strategy that better fits with the long-term growth trends for our company and industry," said Chairman and CEO Richard Dugas.

PulteGroup was founded in Michigan in 1950 by William J. Pulte. He retired three years ago.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said in a statement that the state was happy to welcome PulteGroup, saying "it will be a great corporate citizen."

PulteGroup said that it is still too early to know how many employees will move. Those who choose not to move will receive severance and outplacement services. Its homebuilding operations will remain in Oakland County, Mich.

PulteGroup has 380 Michigan workers. The 54 in homebuilding operations will not be affected by the move. The company expects to have between 300 and 350 employees in Atlanta. It has about 3,400 employees total across 28 states.

PulteGroup Inc. is the second well-known company to announce a move south this month. On May 7, Hertz said it would move from New Jersey to Florida, also to be closer to its customers.

Shares of PulteGroup fell 11 cents to $22 in morning trading.

Statement from Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson

"We are disappointed that Pulte has chosen to leave Michigan. However, we respect any company's right to determine its future. Oakland County continues to attract thousands of sustainable, high-paying jobs in the knowledge-based economy through our Emerging Sectors, Medical Main Street, and Automation Alley initiatives. Oakland County is helping to drive Michigan's economy."