The new land grab.
Picking off land from over-leveraged homebuilders during crashing real estate markets was once the purview of local developers. This time, however, global players, including D.E. Shaw, Apollo Real Estate Advisors, and the Rockefeller Group, are eyeing land in Florida, Colorado, California, and other subprime-ravaged states.
Their plan is obvious in the wake of the real estate meltdown: buy these hard assets and wait until the markets bounce back. "The Rockefeller Group is actively researching Florida properties that may become available for purchase," a spokesman for the New York-based investment and real estate firm told Fortune. "There are definitely opportunities for homebuilders to sell some of the land they acquired when the residential market was very strong."
The explanation for this hot money pouring into land has to do with the fact that firms and funds have been raising capital for real estate purchases for the past decade, putting it to work whenever opportunity strikes. Land just happens to be a value play at this moment.