Big money betting big on housing

  @CNNMoneyInvest February 4, 2013: 6:52 AM ET
housing market new home

The latest sign of a housing boom: investors are clamoring to buy up homebuilding stocks, homes, and undeveloped land.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

Investors are betting big on the housing recovery.

Hedge funds and private equity firms have been rushing in to buy up companies and assets in every part of the housing supply chain, including undeveloped land, homebuilders, foreclosed homes, and building parts manufacturers.

One of the most notable moves is coming from hedge fund manager John Paulson, best known for his big (and lucrative) bets against subprime mortgages in 2006 and 2007.

Now, he's turned his attention to snapping up undeveloped land in areas hardest hit by the housing crisis. "Land is the accordion in the home building equation," said Michael Barr, who runs Paulson's real estate investments. "It falls the most in a downturn, but also rises the most in an upturn."

Over the past two years, Paulson & Co has bought up enough land in California, Arizona and Nevada to build up to 25,000 homes and is aggressively scouting for more, according to Barr.

Related: Home prices post biggest jump in 6 years

Private equity firms are also getting in on the game.

Blackstone Group (BX) spent $2.7 billion last year to buy 17,000 single family homes, post-foreclosure, around the United States and plans to continue ramping up those efforts in 2013.

Pine River Capital Management took real estate investment trust Silver Bay Realty Trust (SBY) public in December. Silver Bay, which acquires, renovates, leases and manages single family homes, has already purchased more than 2,500 homes in areas hard hit by the housing crisis. In a recent SEC filing, Silver Bay said that it plans to purchase 3,100 more homes.

And in a sign of investors' growing appetite for a piece of the housing market, shares of publicly traded homebuilders have been soaring. PulteGroup (PHM), KB Home (KBH), and Lennar (LEN) are all trading near 52-week highs. Pulte's shares have more than doubled over the past year, while the KB Home and Lennar's shares have nearly doubled.

And for the first time since 2004, homebuilders are testing the IPO waters.

Tri Pointe Homes (TPH), which builds single family homes in California and Colorado raised $232 million through an IPO last week. Shares of the company, owned by Starwood Capital, rallied 20% on their first day of trading.

Related: Home building surges 12%

Others are lining up.

Scottsdale, Ariz., homebuilder Taylor Morison has filed to go public and is expected to kick off its investor roadshow in the next few weeks. And building supply company Boise Cascade, jointly owned by PE firm Madison Dearborn and OfficeMax (OMX, Fortune 500), plans to make its public debut next week.

Investment bankers and IPO investors say they expect more homebuilders to go public this year. "As the sector rotates back into favor again, it makes sense for housing companies to monetize," said Brad Miller, co-head of global equity syndicates at Deutsche Bank.

Brad Geisen, CEO of Foreclosure.com, which keeps a database of foreclosures around the nation, said he's been seeing a lot of interest from investors looking to buy up large numbers of foreclosed properties over the past three months.

"A lot of investors see a short window of opportunity where there's good inventory on the market at bottom market prices," said Geisen. "No one knows how long it will last, so these investors are trying to buy as much as they can right now." To top of page



Join the Conversation
Markets
Sponsored by
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,262.56 89.32 0.55%
Nasdaq 4,034.16 11.47 0.29%
S&P 500 1,842.98 12.37 0.68%
Treasuries 2.63 -0.01 -0.42%
Data as of 4:41am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.39 0.40 2.47%
Facebook Inc 59.09 0.20 0.34%
Yahoo! Inc 34.21 0.76 2.29%
The Coca-Cola Co 40.18 1.45 3.74%
Intel Corp 26.77 0.21 0.79%
Data as of Apr 15
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.26%4.48%
15 yr fixed3.30%3.31%
5/1 ARM3.30%3.35%
30 yr refi4.25%4.45%
15 yr refi3.29%3.34%
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.