US home builders, long burdened with excess holdings of land, now are shopping for more of it.

Though it will take years for builders to make use of all the land they bought at inflated prices during the housing boom, some are starting to see irresistible values for finished lots -- land ready for building, with streets, sewers and other improvements in place -- in prime locations. Many of these lots are owned by banks that acquired the property through foreclosures.

Ivy Zelman, chief executive officer of Zelman & Associates, a housing-research firm, said home builders have plenty of land already, but it is mostly in the wrong places, 'beyond the 'burbs,' far from where most people work. In prime areas, though, builders have dwindling supplies of lots and so feel the need to buy more. Demand for lots in top-tier locations appears to be increasing, particularly in Phoenix, near Washington DC, and in parts of California, she said.

Wall Street Journal