Lennar Corp. has sold about 11,000 home sites to a venture mostly owned by the real-estate arm of Morgan Stanley for $525 million, a large land sale that signals that investors have begun to pounce on bargain deals.
The sites -- in 32 communities in areas hit hard by the housing downturn -- were valued on Lennar's books at $1.3 billion as of Sept. 30. The low price the venture paid is a vivid sign of how land values have plummeted with the downturn, precipitated by defaults on subprime mortgages and tightening credit that have led to a broader slowdown in sales.
I could have sworn Lennar's CEO was just in the news saying they were going to mothball properties (sit on them) until the market turns. Maybe I was imagining it. My Voodoo post alleged Lennar was borderline insolvent. This recent news item simply reinforces that, and brings them closer to that insolvency. The assets that I used for that calculation have now been but by $775 million, albeit they have been replaced by cash which Lennar is in desperate need of. Hence, they are closer to balance sheet insolvency, yet have pushed cash flow insolvency back another $525 million.
For those who haven't been following Lennar in my blog, here is a quick update on their situation:
- Voodoo, Zombies, Lennar’s Off Balance Sheet Accounting and Other Things of Mystery & Myth
- Straight Talk From the ex-Homebuilder CFO: Yes.. straight from the Lennar CEOs mouth... land has zero value...
- Straight Talk From the Homebuilder CFO: The tricks builders use to disguise the true losses on their book value
- Straight Talk From the Homebuilder CFO: The Coming Land Recession, Pt I
- Straight Talk From the Homebuilder CFO: The Coming Land Recession, Pt II
- Straight Talk From the Homebuilder CFO: How independent are the independent auditors?