By Wendy Leibowitz. Lennar Corp., which has been in California since the mid-1990s, is expanding its presence in the Golden State by purchasing substantially all of the real estate assets of Coleman Homes, in Bakersfield, for an undisclosed purchase price to be paid in cash. Coleman Homes, which operates in the Central Valley area of California, closed more than 400 homes in 2002 at an average sales price of $176,000. As part of this purchase, completed in mid-April, Miami-based Lennar will acquire a backlog of approximately 300 homes and approximately 3,000 homesites.

"We've had a presence in Fresno as of last year," says Marshall Ames, Lennar's investment relations director. Bakersfield is the "next commuting area to Los Angeles, from the north," he explains.

Meanwhile, Pulte Homes, based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., announced that it had purchased the assets of ColRich Communities, a builder in San Diego. The initial purchase involves approximately 500 entitled lots located in five different communities in the South Bay and Coastal North areas of the city. Financial terms were not disclosed.

According to 2002 data, more than 13,000 permits were issued in the San Diego market, as the area benefited from low unemployment and continued population growth. In 2002, Pulte Homes' Southern California operations delivered approximately 1,200 homes, with less than 10 percent delivered in the San Diego market. The ColRich acquisition is expected to add about 150 closings to Pulte Homes Southern California operations in 2003.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.