Home­builder poised to buy land at Avaña project

Stan­dard Pa­cific adding to hold­ings in re­gion as de­vel­op­ers en­vi­sion short­age of ready lots

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS - By Shonda No­vak

Stan­dard Pa­cific Homes plans to buy 163 lots on 111 acres at Avaña, a pro­posed 1,000-acre res­i­den­tial devel­op­ment in South­west Austin that was posted for fore­clo­sure last year.

Stan­dard Pa­cific ex­pects to com­plete the pur­chase this month for an undis­closed amount, said John Bohnen, vice pres­i­dent of land for the Irvine, Calif.-based com­pany.

Stan­dard Pa­cific is among a num­ber of home­builders that are snap­ping up lots in Cen­tral Texas, amid some fore­casts that the re­gion could face a short­age of lots ready to de­velop or to build on in some of the re­gion’s more de­sir­able ar­eas next year.

With the sup­ply of lots tight, “we think it’s a pretty safe in­vest­ment to be mak­ing these pur­chases,” Bohnen said.

On Tues­day, Tay­lor Mor­ri­son Inc. an­nounced it has pur­chased 1,200 lots on 440 acres in Crys­tal Falls in the Le­an­der area from the project’s de­vel­oper, the Look­out Group.

Stan­dard Pa­cific has “got­ten pretty ag­gres­sive” in the past four to five months, Bohnen said, and has con­tracted for or closed on about 1,000 lots in Cen­tral Texas.

“We’re look­ing to grow and gain mar­ket share within Austin, and we’re po­si­tion­ing our­selves for an up­turn in the fu­ture,” he said, adding that South­west Austin is “a great sub­mar­ket” with a scarcity of lots.

Cal Rossi Jr., an ex­ec­u­tive with

Dal­las-based Transcontinental Realty In­vestors Inc., which owns Avaña un­der sub­sidiaries JMJ Cir­cle C East and JMJ Cir­cle C West, said Transcontinental has con­trol of the re­main­ing land at Avaña. “We’re work­ing with eight or nine other builders” that want to pur­chase lots, he said.

Rossi said he thinks Avaña will avoid fore­clo­sure.

“We’re work­ing out a pro­gram with the bank,” Rossi said. “We don’t think it’s go­ing to get fore­closed. It’s not our in­ten­tion, and it’s not theirs as we move for­ward.”

Stan­dard Pa­cific is also buy­ing about 600 lots in the Ranch at Brushy Creek, off Parmer Lane south of RM 1431, where it plans to build homes rang­ing in price from the low $200,000s to about $500,000 over the next six to seven years, Bohnen said. Stan­dard Pa­cific ex­pects to have model homes open there by next spring.

Other ac­qui­si­tions in­clude 63 lots in Rough Hol­low in Lakeway, and an undis­closed num­ber of lots in the High Point com­mu­nity in Drip­ping Springs, where the com­pany plans to build homes rang­ing from the low $200,000s to the low $300,000s, with mod­els open in early 2011, Bohnen said.

Like other builders, Stan­dard Pa­cific is bet­ting on an even­tual re­bound in the hous­ing mar­ket. Some real es­tate ob­servers say the lo­cal mar­ket isn’t out of the woods yet, and that they would like to see na­tional un­em­ploy­ment fig­ures and other eco­nomic in­di­ca­tors im­prove be­fore pre­dict­ing an up­turn.

But Stan­dard Pa­cific and other builders are look­ing ahead.

“In gen­eral, we think things in the next cou­ple of years will con­tinue to get bet­ter,” Bohnen said. “I wouldn’t call it a re­bound yet by any means. But even if the mar­ket stays flat, we’re go­ing to have to buy land to main­tain mar­ket share. And for­tu­nately, we’ve got the abil­ity and the cap­i­tal to go out and buy ad­di­tional com­mu­ni­ties.”

Pa­trick Shel­ton, a part­ner at Dun­can Com­mer­cial, who with owner Joe Dun­can rep­re­sented the Look­out Group’s Bill Hinckley on the Tay­lor Mor­ri­son-Crys­tal Falls deal, said that the larger builders in the Austin area “re­al­ize that it will take at least a year or even 18 months to put a fin­ished lot on the ground, so they don’t want to miss an op­por­tu­nity to be in a key lo­ca­tion, es­pe­cially as the mar­ket re­cov­ers over time.”

“The builders know that now is the time to take key po­si­tions if they want to take ad­van­tage of the mar­ket in the fu­ture,” Shel­ton said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.