One of the biggest mistakes that investors make is cutting their flowers and watering the weeds; in other words, cashing in their winning investments too early, and adding to their losers in hopes to get back to even. In this case, I'm planning to do the opposite by increasing the size of my position in one of the best performing picks for the Total Realty Portfolio. Following this article, I plan to double my position in real estate developer Howard Hughes
Why I'm buying more
When I first picked up shares of Howard Hughes, it was trading at a 20% discount to book value and looked to be a screaming deal. Now that shares have rallied this year, it may not be screaming, but it still looks like a deal at 1.2 times what I believe is a significantly understated book value. There continues to be mounting evidence based on a recent divesture and land values used to negotiate joint venture terms that substantiate this thesis -- not to mention management's consistent assertions to the same effect.
Over the last three quarters, Howard Hughes has released a tremendous amount of good news surrounding its various properties. A few examples include:
- The company's two master planned communities (MPC) in Houston, Texas, The Woodlands and Bridgelands, are seeing healthy demand for new homes. Also, office space in the commercial areas of the MPC is filling up fast because of the booming energy market and ExxonMobil's
decision to relocate 2000 employees from Virginia to its new headquarters being built near The Woodlands. (NYSE: XOM)
- In the distressed Las Vegas market, there are finally signs that the market is bottoming, and demand for home lots in the Summerlin MPC is improving. Macy's
has signed on to be the first anchor tenant for the future Shops at Summerlin retail development, which should help attract more retail tenants. (NYSE: M)
- Howard Hughes has finally received approval for its plans to redevelop the South Street Seaport in Manhattan, and construction is slated to start in July of 2013.
- Development is proceeding as planned on the company's Ala Moana property in Honolulu, which management believes could ultimately be worth more than the current market value of the entire company.
Foolish bottom line
As an investor in the company, I'm pleased with how Howard Hughes is operating, and I continue to be impressed by both the company's management and its ability to attract new talent. Howard Hughes continues to be one of my favorite long-term holdings, and I don't plan to make the mistake of anchoring to the considerably lower price of my first purchase. Howard Hughes' stock may cost more today than it did a year ago, but we have considerably more information about the value of the assets, the strategy for redeveloping key properties, and the abilities of the management team, which in my mind makes the decision to buy more even easier today.