Hedge fund legend John Paulson and other big-time investors reportedly are snapping up land in areas hit hard by the housing crunch, such as Las Vegas, Phoenix and Florida.
Their idea is to then sell the acquired land at hefty profits to homebuilders who are in need of land after dumping too much of it in the wake of the housing market collapse.
Paulson & Co. is bidding on 8,000 residential lots owned by bankrupt homebuilder Tousa in Arizona, Colorado and Nevada, knowledgeable sources tell The Wall Street Journal.
Paulson has bought 5,000 lots of master-planned communities in San Diego, Denver and Florida from GMAC Financial Services.
"John Paulson is at the table on every deal that comes up," Graham Weiss, a land broker at GW Realty of San Diego, told the Journal.
Other buyers include SunCal, D.E. Shaw and Angelo, Gordon.
Buying raw land, of course, carries great risk because you’re purchasing an asset that provides no income until you sell it. And there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to sell at a profit.
Some recent data indicate home prices won’t rise anytime soon, a bearish sign for land prices, too.
New home sales plummeted 33 percent in May to a record low annual pace of 300,000.
“We’re going to see a home-sales air pocket after the end of the tax-credit stimulus,” economist Richard DeKaser told Bloomberg.
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