December 1, 2007 / 4:11 AM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-Lennar forms venture with Morgan Stanley Real Estate

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NEW YORK, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Builder Lennar Corp (LEN.N) (LEN.N) said on Friday it formed an investment venture with Morgan Stanley Real Estate and sold the venture $525 million in properties.

The properties acquired by the new entity consist of about 11,000 homesites in 32 communities across the United States, Miami, Florida-based Lennar said.

The properties were a mix of raw lands along with partially and fully developed homesites located in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada and New Jersey.

“This transaction provides us with increased liquidity and flexibility at an opportune time,” Lennar Chief Executive Stuart Miller said.

Lennar and Morgan Stanely Real Estate, an affiliate of Morgan Stanley & Co. (MS.N), formed the venture to acquire, develop, manage and sell residential real estate.

Lennar acquired a 20 percent ownership interest and 50 percent voting rights in the venture. As of Sept. 30, the acquired properties had a net book value of $1.3 billion, it said.

It will manage the venture’s operations and receive service fees.

Home builders have been hit hard by the deteriorating housing market, which has led to high cancellation orders, falling prices and increasing inventories. (Reporting by Lisa Lee; editing by Carol Bishopric and Tomasz Janowski)

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