Land banking was a popular way for builders to take down lots held by a third-party during the run-up of the last cycle, but the practice largely disappeared in the wake of the worst real estate downturn since the Great Depression.
Now, Greencrossing, based in Aliso Viejo, Calif., and headed by Tom Banks and Jason Perrin – who have more than 40 combined years of experience in real estate and together have acquired, entitled and developed more than 20,000 lots – is one of the first companies in the aftermath of the housing crisis to create a fund to land-bank properties on behalf of builders.
“Now is the ideal time for builders who want to buy finished and partially finished lots to meet expected housing demand, but don’t want a large initial cash outlay,” said Perrin. “By participating in our land bank program, builders improve their balance sheets by keeping the land and horizontal improvements off their books until they need it with an option purchase agreement.”
Greencrossing is looking to place up to $60 million in land banking deals over the next 12 months. The fund is primarily targeting mid-sized to large private builders and all public builders planning to construct homes in desirable California markets.
“Everyone is aware by now that the land market in key areas of California has heated up over the past year – prices are rising and competition is fierce, especially for finished or blue-top lots,” Banks said. “If you’re a home builder with your eye on a particular piece of property, our program can provide the financial flexibility that works for your company.”
Typically, Greencrossing’s program targets deals with 100 single-family lots or less and the property should be in some sort of a developed state. The projected peak capital including land plus horizontal improvements, excluding impact fees, typically would be between $5 million and $15 million per deal.