Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Good Ole Days

I just reviewed earnings for Lennar Corp (LEN) and as expected they were atrocious. I don't mean to pick on them since they have enough problems as it is, but while I was on the company web site, I came across a presentation from a sell side conference back in February 2006. The stock was at $60 back then as you can see below:

One of the slides in the presentation detailed the secular bull case for Housing. The reasons given were:

1) Demographics favor continued strong demand.

2) Land supply is constrained.

3) Strong balance sheet & liquidity drive expansion.

4) Market diversification.

5) Professional management teams.

6) Competitive advantage – economies of scale.

It's astounding to me how many institutional investors bought into this thesis. It's very difficult to resist the call of a bubble.

In defense of Lennar, they did present an alternative scenario in the next slide:

1) Rates rise.

2) Economy falters.

3) Unemployment up.

4) Affordability down.

5) Demand weakens.

6) Margins compressed.

Anyhow, I don't have to tell you how it ended and which scenario won out:

If you look at the last housing cycle for Lennar, it also shows a pretty interesting ride, and a great way to make a lot of money if your timing is right.

Disclosure - No Position in LEN.

Charts courtesy of Big Charts.

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