Lennar Earnings Beat Estimates as Peak Buying Time Begins

Lennar Introduces Multi-Generational Homes to San Diego

SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As seen in Bloomberg, USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and many more, Lennar is now ready to bring this revolutionary new concept to San Diego on Saturday, August 25th, 2012.

“The opportunity for families to share a mortgage makes a lot of economic sense for many families”
.One of the newest trends in the housing industry is now coming to Lennar’s Crescent Heights community at Sky Ranch in Santee on Saturday, August 25th – the comeback of multi-generational living. Be the first to tour these buzzed about new homes.

Lennar has already seen tremendous interest from the public since they introduced this concept in other areas and is beyond excited to be the first homebuilder to bring this floorplan to San Diego. Extended family who live together has made a major resurgence to American living, this new trend of multi-generational living has encouraged Lennar to design a home that allows extended family to live all together in one home – except with separate living spaces.

According to Lennar, after conducting much research and seeing a rising need for this type of living situation, Lennar decided to design a distinctive floorplan that can accommodate different living arrangements while still providing great use of space, square footage and most importantly, privacy.

“We have created this plan to allow for dual living situations without sacrificing comfort – it’s literally a home within a home,” stated John Baayoun, Division President.

The economy has dramatically contributed to the decision to build this type of product. Many aging parents have seen their retirement investments diminish during recent years and many college-age children are finding it necessary to move back home. With housing typically being the largest part of the monthly budget, moving in together is an option many are embracing. “The opportunity for families to share a mortgage makes a lot of economic sense for many families,” added Baayoun. “Lennar’s Next Gen – The home within a home is like getting two homes with one payment, making living together affordable, comfortable and flexible to your needs.”

Each NEXT GEN suite includes a separate entrance, living space, kitchenette, bedroom, full bath, optional stacked washer and dryer and a private one-bay garage.

For more information about Crescent Heights and Lennar’s NEXT GEN – “The Home within a Home” concept, call (888) 203-8072 or visit

Valerie Sheets, 949-283-0202

San Antonio Solar Boosters, Lennar and KB Home


Posted on: August 22, 2011
Source: San Antonio Express-News

Of course the buyer of a new luxury home can consider installing solar panels. Why not?

But for the first time in San Antonio, solar panels are becoming an option for homebuyers at an affordable price point, and in the kind of new homes that many people purchase: production homes by large, national builders.

Supporters of solar energy say it’s a sign that green building has become more widespread in the market and that local homebuyers are growing increasingly sophisticated about energy efficiency.

Lennar Homes recently opened a model home with solar panels in the Kallison Ranch neighborhood off of Culebra outside Loop 1604 and will start offering solar panels as an option in all of its communities.

KB Home also will roll out solar panels as an option in all of its San Antonio communities this fall, and last week installed solar panels on a model home in its new La Fontana neighborhood off of U.S. 281 North and Evans Road.

“It really demonstrates a maturing of the market,” said Cathy Teague, a spokeswoman with KB Home. “Not every buyer will want to do solar panels, but there are a certain number of new homeowners who are interested in seeing how far off the grid they can get.”

Anita Ledbetter Devora, executive director of Build San Antonio Green said people also have realized they don’t have to install a huge and expensive system to run an entire home — they can use solar as a way to permanently shave utility bills instead.

“The tipping point is that we have more educated installers and builders,” Devora said. “Years ago it was an all-or-nothing mentality. Builders are putting in more affordable systems. It will make a difference in your utility bill without breaking the bank.”

Lanny Sinkin, executive director of Solar San Antonio, said some homeowners and builders take a phased approach. “You can do some one year and some another year and just keep building your system,” he said.

According to Solar San Antonio, the cost of a 5-kilowatt system — a typical choice that can handle about 40 percent of a home’s energy load — costs about $27,500 installed. But a CPS rebate whittles about $11,250 off of the cost, and a 30 percent federal tax credit shaves off another $4,875. That leaves a typical buyer of solar panels paying around $11,375.

“It really changes the whole proposition,” Sinkin said.

Both KB and Lennar declined to provide specific costs for the solar panel option, but Brian Barron, director of construction for Lennar, said the build will be able to lower the costs thanks to volume discounts.

In 2010, San Antonio-based Imagine Homes, a smaller volume builder, was the first to offer solar panels to buyers of homes at a moderate price point, in neighborhoods where home prices start around $140,000.

About 10 percent of its buyers have opted to put solar panels on their homes so far, and John Friesenhahn, a partner with the company, said he is seeing increased buyer interest in solar energy.

“My hunch is that it’s gas prices as well as the heat,” Friesenhahn said. “When gas prices go up, and people get these huge electric bills from CPS, they stop and think about their budget.”

Friesenhahn said in Imagine neighborhoods, a basic 2-kilowatt solar unit generally costs anywhere between $12,000 and $16,000 before the CPS rebates and tax incentives.

So far San Antonio has 382 photovoltaic units, mostly on homes, Sinkin said. Another 70 are awaiting approval from CPS.

A few years ago, though, the city had hardly any solar units — just five systems in 2008, according to information from CPS and Solar San Antonio.

Devora said she hopes that number will start to grow quickly, and was happy to see solar offered on homes where the utility bill savings can make a real difference in a household’s budget. “We’re seeing a huge change in the residential market,” she said.

KB Home, based in Los Angeles, has 28 neighborhoods in the San Antonio area and the Miami-based Lennar has nine communities. They are both among the top 10 most active builders in the market, and together have more than 13 percent of the market share of new home building, according to the housing research firm Metrostudy.

Barron said Lennar isn’t sure how many buyers will choose solar. But already the new model home has been drawing people curious about the panels. “Buyers these days expect some type of green efficiency program,” he said. “Installing solar panels is something we consider as the next step in green building.”

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Texas Housing Market Shoulders the Burden of Performing Well Under Pressure


While the nation mostly zigged, Texas zagged. While most corporations stockpiled cash and plunked all their lean-production savings on the bottom line of profits, Texas’ oil-driven economy kicked and buckled and kept people in jobs, and even expanded some capacity beyond the immediate, foreseeable demand for its inventories.

What’s more, Texas dodged the bullet of a bubble housing economy, which didn’t feel so very good during the last-decade boom, but feels pretty derned blessed right now. Consequently, hordes of folks weren’t buying homes as part of the national Ponzi Scheme of getting something for nothing, then flipping it to go onto the next square in the game. On the contrary, folks in Texas mostly bought their homes to live in them. What a concept!

This is why Texas tends to break the model when it comes to matching up failed loans with loan types. So many of those folks in Texas who bought homes during the past decade were among the riskier quality borrowers, with semi-ok credit scores and low- to no-down payments. Yet, percentage-wise, more of their loans are intact today than in most other regions of the country. Which is why there’s a relatively normalized–although low-pulse–marketplace for housing in the Lone Star State.

The big issue there is access to home loans and down payments. Since all regions are tarred with the same brush as the worst of them when it comes to rolling up the statistics on loan risk, banks don’t tend to look at Texas and say, “well, okay, we’ll accept a 580 FICO on a Federal Housing Administration-backed loan.” Just isn’t happening. So qualifying your average paycheck-to-paycheck style household, the backbone of home buyer populations for lo, these many yeaers, is well nigh a pipedream.

So, Texas, being Texas, is going to have to set a good example at helping the rest of the nation figure this dilemma out. And it probably will do just that.

Here is the Texas Housing Update from equity research analyst Buck Horne and his team at Raymond James & Associates.

Texas Housing Update: March Sales Fall 11% Y/Y; Median Price Flat Y/Y

* Sales fall 11% y/y. Existing home sales in Texas dropped 11% y/y in March, which was comparable to February’s 10% y/y decline. From our view, the negative y/y sales totals are not terribly surprising and should be kept in the context of 1) increasingly difficult y/y tax-credit sales comparisons, 2) relatively fewer foreclosure liquidations in the region, and 3) the state’s price stability. Overall, Texas remains a very competitive market, but over the past two years, it has been one of the few bright spots for many homebuilders. More recently, though, increasingly difficult mortgage underwriting and higher fee structures for GSE/FHA loans are creating new challenges in Texas, in our view, given its higher mix of credit-constrained buyers. Thus, with difficult tax-credit comparisons still ahead, we suspect y/y existing home sales results will likely remain negative at least through May until the tax credit comparisons are lapped. Locally, North Texas pending sales (Dallas area) were down 13% y/y in March. Similarly, Austin area pending home sales dropped 17% y/y. Houston area pending sales only fell 1% y/y in March, but both KB Home and Lennar recently noted renewed signs of pricing pressure among new homes for sale in Houston.

* Major market sales drop 10% y/y. Transaction activity in the four largest markets for public homebuilders (Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio) outperformed the state as a whole but were still down 10% y/y in March (versus a -7% y/y comparison in February). Drilling down, sales in Dallas fell 14% y/y, and Austin sales declined 12% y/y. Meanwhile, Houston reported the least severe decline among the major markets in March, falling 6% y/y. Overall, we believe San Antonio area home sales have been buoyed by the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) initiative. That said, sales dropped 10% y/y in March as this submarket lapped a difficult year-ago comparison (+28% y/y).

* Inventory slides 2% y/y. March listings in Texas were down 2% y/y but up 3% from February to 126,051 units. Since 2004, the average seasonal sequential increase between February and March has been roughly 4%. Texas’ total listings represent 7.5 months of supply, which is up from 7.1 months of supply reported in March 2010 but still below the 8.4 months of existing home supply reported nationally as of March. Existing home inventory declined in three of the four major markets. The only y/y increase among the major markets continues to be reported in Houston, where inventory grew by 5% y/y (a deceleration from the 9% y/y increase reported last month). Elsewhere, San Antonio listings dropped 4% y/y and Dallas listings fell 2% y/y. The most substantial y/y decline was registered in Austin, where listings dropped 12% y/y.

* Median home price flat y/y. After climbing 4% y/y in February, the median home price remained flat y/y in March. Over the last 24 months, y/y median price comparisons have oscillated in a narrow range between -3% and +4%. In our view, this suggests that Texas home prices have remained relatively stable. At a median price of $143,700, Texas’ existing median home price is 10% below the March national median price of $159,600 (-5.9% y/y). Thus, in our view, Texas will likely avoid the level of price declines seen in markets still flooded with distressed properties. On a local level, two of the four major markets reported a y/y increase in the median sales price in March, with the breakdown as follows: Dallas (-2% y/y), Houston (-2% y/y), Austin (+3% y/y), and San Antonio (+3% y/y).

* Fewer foreclosures in Texas. Recently released fourth quarter mortgage delinquency data from the Mortgage Bankers Association revealed only 1.9% of loans (69,000 mortgages by our estimate) in the state were in foreclosure versus 4.6% nationally. While slightly above the rest of the nation, the level of implied future foreclosure activity is still far less threatening than many other key states for the homebuilders. Specifically, 9.2% of Texas mortgages were delinquent versus 8.9% nationally and 10-12% in the states hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis. Supporting the Mortgage Bankers Association data, according to Lender Processing Services, the “non-current” rate (delinquency rate + foreclosure rate) in Texas for February remained comfortably below the national average (10.5% versus 13.0%).

* Texas faces fewer headwinds than most markets. In our view, once a sustained recovery is underway, homebuilders with a strong presence in Texas will ultimately benefit from the state’s 1) limited foreclosure overhang, 2) highly affordable housing markets, 3) business-friendly growth policies, and 4) relatively small percentage of borrowers in a negative equity situation. Specifically, based on data from First American Core Logic, only 10.4% of properties with a mortgage were “underwater” in Texas as of December (versus 23.1% nationally). After ending its streak of 16 straight months of y/y declines in employment last May, job growth has steadily accelerated in Texas. Specifically, based on seasonally-adjusted data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas payrolls rose by 251,100 jobs, or 2.4% y/y, in March. Evidencing the favorable market dynamics, M/I Homes announced in early April it acquired the assets of privately held TriStone Homes, based in San Antonio.

* Builder exposure. For reference, as a percentage of their total 2009 unit closing volumes, Meritage Homes, The Ryland Group, and Lennar Corp. have the largest respective exposures to Texas.

Lennar closes Rialto Capital's first fund with $300 million in equity

Lennar announced, “its Rialto Capital subsidiary has completed the first closing of a real estate investment fund with initial equity commitments of approximately $300 million (including $75 million committed by Lennar). The Fund’s objective during its three-year investment period is to invest in distressed real estate assets and other related investments that fit within the Fund’s investment parameters.” Rialto landed a $3.05 billion FDIC portfolio, and a $740 million pool of loans from large banks to generate value, “one asset at a time.” Since new-home sales volume may not approach normalcy until well into 2012, Lennar’s Rialto plan is a masterstroke.

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Lennar Picks Up More Distressed Assets

Source: BIG BUILDER News
Publication date: October 1, 2010

By Teresa Burney

As the business of building homes remains bottomed out, Lennar Corp. has invested again in growing its other business — mining distressed land and loans for profit.

The Miami-based company announced Friday that it has bought roughly $740 million worth of repossessed real estate and loans that have gone sideways in separate transactions with three large financial institutions it did not name.

It also didn’t say what it paid for the grab bag of loans and land that got caught in the vortex of the housing crash, only that it purchased them through its Rialto subsidiary with a combination of cash and senior unsecured financing from one of the selling financial institutions.

Most of the assets are 397 non-performing loans with a total balance of approximately $529 million made for residential and commercial land buys, as well as for development and construction costs.

The rest is 306 real estate assets with an appraised value of roughly $211 million. The assets include land, lots, and single-family and multi-family residential communities at varying stages of completion. The assets are in 17 states, primarily in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the United States. The combined portfolio is 65% residential and 35% commercial.

This is Lennar’s first major purchase from the private sector. In February Rialto formed a public-private partnership with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) to buy and then manage $3.05 billion in distressed real estate loans.

“We worked hand-in-hand with three large financial institutions to help them maximize the value of their distressed assets, while creating an excellent investment opportunity for our shareholders,” Lennar CEO Stuart Miller said in a news release announcing the new purchases. “Our unique ability to underwrite both non-performing loans and REO made Lennar the perfect buyer for these assets. Our Rialto subsidiary is extremely well positioned to manage, work through and add value to the loan portfolio and our core homebuilding operation is poised to benefit from many of the residential REO assets.”

Miller said he expects the new purchases to begin bringing in earnings in 2011. The FDIC investment has already contributed to Lennar’s bottom line, bringing in $7.7 million in its third quarter of this year, the company recently reported. So far, the company is retrieving 90 cents on every dollar of distressed assets in that portfolio.

“We have methodically put together a machine over the last two years now in the Rialto program that allows us to invest in spaces where other builders are not able to,” he said. “This is a process that is labor- and experience-intensive. It costs money. The barriers to entry are big, yet the returns are outsized.”

Of the publicly held large home builders, only Toll Brothers has joined Lennar in the market of mining distressed assets.

Rialto is also contributing to Lennar’s profits in another way by providing the builder with a pipeline of lots at low prices that, because they aren’t sold in the open market, Lennar is able to buy free from brokers and competitive bidders.

Of the 3,003 lots the builder bought in its third quarter, 1,500 came through Rialto, Miller said during the September conference call.

Since this batch of assets was bought from private financial institutions, versus the ones it bought in partnership with the FDIC last February, Lennar should be free to keep the best assets in the portfolio for itself. Under the FDIC deal, Rialto would need approval from the FDIC to sell assets to Lennar, analyst Carl E. Reichardt Jr. said in a note Friday morning assessing the recent purchase.

“While details are scarce, we view these transactions more favorably than LEN’s … deal with the FDIC in February,” Reichardt wrote.

Market analyst Jay McCanless of Guggenheim Securities also had good things to say about the deal.

“We do believe this transaction is positive because it provides Lennar an alternative potential stream of revenue and profits besides the traditional homebuilding business,” he wrote in a Friday morning note. “We anticipate Rialto and Lennar are investigating additional transactions with other private parties, and we believe future similar announcements to todays could be likely.”

Lennar posts better than expected Q3 financial performance

Lennar posted Q3 earnings this morning that either met or beat analysts’ consensus on performance across key measures. In light of a broader context of malaise in the market, it would seem Lennar is outperforming the new-home business environment nationally. The question is, are other publics doing that as well?

Here’s what the company says about its most recent financial quarter.

Third quarter net earnings attributable to Lennar in 2010 were $30.0 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, compared to third quarter net loss attributable to Lennar of $171.6 million, or $0.97 per diluted share, in 2009.

Stuart Miller, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lennar Corporation, said, “During our third quarter, as expected, our sales pace declined as a result of the expiration of the Federal homebuyer tax credit at the end of April. Although high unemployment and foreclosures have continued to present challenges for the national housing market, our communities have been less impacted than the broader market.”

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