Who Knew “Land Banks” Were Off-Balance Sheet?

It was 2005, the peak of the housing bubble and housing stocks were running wild. Toll Brothers (TOL) and Lennar (LEN) stock were at 60. There was no end to housing with Wall Street buying up mortgages faster than brokers could sell them. One of the many creative ploys feeding the frenzy was for the builders to buy raw land, calling them “land banks”, betting that the demand for homes was infinite. Now we learn six years later that creative financing was involved and even the big banks were left holding the paper. Although tens of billions of “off balance sheet” deals have been written off or gone into bankruptcy some paper still needs to be cleaned up.

Builders Face a Desert Reckoning – WSJ.com

Chart forToll Brothers Inc. (TOL)

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