1,000-acre REO up for bid in California

One of the largest California REO properties in recent memory, more than 1,000 acres of contiguous raw land, was on the auction block Friday near Folsom, Calif.

San Francisco-based Fowler Property Acquisitions originally bought the 1,019 acres of land in Sacramento County in 2005 for roughly $60 million, said Jim Radler, senior marketing consultant at land brokerage firm Land Advisors Organization. Including entitlements, the investment was $100 million.

But the property later went into foreclosure. Redwood Capital Finance Co. is the seller. It wasn’t clear whether the land would be sold outright to the best bidder or if Redwood would retain the property if bids weren’t satisfactory.

“This is one of the more interesting deals around right now. You don’t see these types of opportunities especially in the REO side very often,” Radler said.

David Miller, Folsom’s community development director and himself a former developer, said some of the owners were not realistic about the timing it would take to annex the property into the city, which could be related to why they stopped making payments on it.

Miller said he expects the land to be annexed by January.

Foreclosures have been relatively rare in Folsom where the unemployment rate hasn’t risen above 6.5% over the past three years. The city’s unemployment rate is currently 5.7%.

Interest for the property comes from homebuilders, developers, local investors and hedge funds. The land should see rooftops in two to three years, Miller predicted.

The deadline for bidding on the property is Friday at 7 p.m. CDT.

Fowler Property Acquisitions could not be reached for comment.

By Justin T. Hilley
November 4, 2011