SOURCE: Trumark Group of Companies

April 06, 2011 18:39 ET

Trumark Homes Sells 11 Acres of Premium Residential Real Estate Property in Lake Forest

Unanticipated Sale Prompted by Increased Land Values and Multiple Offers From Other Homebuilders

LAKE FOREST, CA--(Marketwire - April 6, 2011) - In response to a dramatic increase in the value of land across coastal Southern California, Trumark Homes has sold 11 acres of residential real estate in a coveted infill location in Lake Forest that it purchased just 20 months ago.

The Irvine-based developer and homebuilder had originally planned to start the construction of 68 to 72 single-family detached homes on the property in late 2010. However, Trumark received several unsolicited inquiries about the purchase of the undeveloped land -- known as "paper lots" -- over the past few months and reconsidered its strategy.

"The property is now worth three times what we paid for it in August 2009 and it simply made more sense to sell it than to build it out," said Michael Maples, president and CEO of Trumark Homes. "Once we officially took it to market, we got 20 offers from both public and private homebuilders at an extremely attractive price point."

The former Whisler Family Trust property, located on the corner of Regency Lane and Osterman Road in Lake Forest, was sold to a public builder at an undisclosed price.

Maples attributes the sharp increase in land values to increased optimism about the housing market in core areas of Southern California, as well as the recent surge of new home sales on the north end of the Irvine Ranch. Homebuilders are eager to get back to work, he said, but coastal markets are rebounding faster than those in the Inland Empire where many of them bought finished lots over the past few years.

"While the rest of the builders chased distressed property in outlying areas, Trumark stayed true to its strategy of purchasing prime infill locations in constrained markets within 40 minutes of major job centers," Maples said. "Our focus and discipline is now paying off."

Trumark is pursuing a similar course in Northern California, where it recently acquired a 16-acre office park in San Jose and partnered with Brookfield Homes, which will restore and redevelop the property into a residential community of 89 detached single-family homes.

"This approach fits perfectly with our game plan, which is to have about five active communities and two land sales a year," said Jason Kliewer, partner and general counsel for Trumark. "We now have a healthy pipeline that includes shovel-ready projects and the ability to dispose of assets with significant returns."

Trumark Homes is a new generation homebuilder that is nimble, focused and unburdened by broken projects of the past. Since May of 2009, Trumark has raised more than $95 million of equity and closed nine deals. It has two actively selling communities and controls more than 1,800 lots in core urban areas of California, representing more than $900 million in future revenue. www.trumark-co.com

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