Orleans Homebuilders announced today that it sold off nearly 1,400 lots in five states, making the Bensalem, Pa., company the latest builder to unload land in a challenging housing market.

According to a company press release, the nine properties the company sold off had a book value of about $86 million. Based on the sale, the company expects to receive between $20 million and $25 million worth of federal tax refunds by September 2008.

Roughly 94 percent of the lots sold are in Arizona, Florida, and Illinois, while the other lots are located in North Carolina and Virginia.

"We generally sold lots and land in weaker performing communities, primarily in Florida, Chicago, and Arizona," said Jeffrey P. Orleans, the company's chairman and CEO.

"These regions are weaker both for us and in the national industry environment," he explained. "We deliberately did not sell any significant positions in our northern or southern regions, where about 88 percent of our remaining owned and controlled lot count is located."

The transactions reduced the company's owned lot position as of Sept. 30, 2007, by about 18 percent, and lowered its total owned and controlled lot position by 10 percent as of the same date.

Orleans Homebuilders ranked No. 42 on the 2006 BUILDER 100 list, based on 2006 U.S. closings of 2,079.

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