BUILDER Online, 2022/03/27

The land asset management company is working with several national home builders to fast-track the development of thousands of additional new homes.

Walton, a land asset management and global real estate investment company, set a goal of acquiring approximately 12,000 additional acres—space for more than 34,000 new homes—this year to add to its 2021 acquisition and sales to support home builders responding to high levels of demand. Walton’s land acquisition strategy in the hottest residential markets helps support builders during their searches for suitable land in the tight market.

“We are seeing a very aggressive land market that is in favor of land sellers right now,” says Barry Dluzen, executive vice president of land at Walton. “At times, we are getting multiple home builders interested in one property. Walton is working closely with various builders across the country to give them the land they need to support their business plans to build homes.”

Walton’s strategy involves identifying a land parcel that meets certain requirements and finding a builder for the land by tapping into its network of national and regional builders or developers before the land is acquired. After Walton acquires the land, the company holds it via an option agreement until the builder is ready for development, helping the builder secure land while providing a way to free up capital for building and lightening company balance sheets.

“We’re seeing end users looking to keep pace with demand for residential, industrial, service retail, and even residential rentals,” says Ed Hadley, executive vice president, real estate with Walton. “Land infrastructures and entitlements are hard to find in this hot market, and we have them.”

In 2021, Walton sold more than 9,500 acres with a value of nearly $300 million to builders including D.R. Horton, Pulte Homes, M/I Homes, and Regent Homes. Walton’s 2021 land acquisitions totaled 2,150 acres, including the acquisition of 632 acres of land for residential markets in four of the hottest real estate markets. Walton acquired 208 acres in Stonebreaker in northern Colorado with the intention of bringing more than 500 single-family homes to the area and acquired 217 acres for residential development in the Charlotte, North Carolina, metro area. The company additionally acquired 166 acres in the San Antonio metro market and acquired 67 acres of land in the Sacramento, California, area, which is expected to generate 300 single-family homes for the area.

“Builders and developers are continuing to move farther out from a city’s nucleus in an effort to maintain affordability as higher priced developments occur closer to the city,” Dluzen says. “Although land pricing has increased overall, demand remains very high. Walton is positioned to support the demand as well as economic development and affordable home inventory throughout the country.”

Walton has more than 98,000 acres of land under ownership, management, and administration in the United States and Canada, with business lines ranging from exit-focused pre-development land investments, builder land financing, and build-to-rent.