Lennar looks to distressed debt as homebuilding slump persists
Lennar Corp., the third-largest US homebuilder, is investing in failed bank loans and distressed real estate assets to boost revenue as demand for new houses shows few signs of revival. The Miami-based company’s purchase last month of a share of $3.05bn of delinquent loans seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. from failed lenders takes the builder into territory so far dominated by private equity firms such as Thomas Barrack’s Colony Capital and Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood Capital Group. While builders such as Toll Brothers and Meritage Homes Corp. have bought delinquent debt backed by land, aiming to develop it later, Lennar has been the most active in pursuing strategies to benefit from the real estate market’s slump, said John Burns, chairman of John Burns Real Estate Consulting. “Nobody else is doing what Lennar is doing -- nobody,” said Burns, based in Irvine, California.