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Cramer: Get Paid to Wait for Housing Recovery

US real estate right now is way too cheap, Cramer said during Friday’s Mad Money. He wasn’t talking about just home prices, though. Land, too, seems incredibly undervalued. So a better way to get in the action, aside of bidding for a new house, might be to buy the largest private land owner in the country: Plum Creek Timber .

Residential real estate has been stabilizing, even in hard-hit areas like Florida, Nevada, Arizona and California, and the much-discussed commercial real estate collapse just doesn’t look like it’ll happen. Not with real estate investment trusts Vornado and Simon Property at 52-week highs. And this morning we found out that unemployment declined, which no doubt adds more stability to this once-ailing market.

But why buy Plum Creek? Because aside of growing timber, selling logs and manufacturing wood products, a quarter of the company’s revenues come from real estate. PCL owns 7.4 million acres of timberlands in 19 states, marketing its higher-and-better use and non-strategic properties to developers. And the company makes money on its own development projects.

Cramer said he thinks Plum Creek’s earnings should jump higher once we start building homes again in the US. Not only will timber and pulp sales generate revenues, but also the improved housing market will boost the value of PCL’s real estate. But even if a worst-case scenario plays itself out, low inventories and increased demand across the timber industry should keep Plum Creek on solid ground.

The perception that land prices are depreciating has kept the stock down, with the share price climbing just 1.6% year-to-date. So PCL could be a great play for investors who think they missed the market’s big run since early March. And there’s a sizable 5% dividend yield here, providing better income than Treasurys.

Don’t think of this as a high-powered growth stock, Cramer said. Plum Creek is more of a long-term value proposition. And it’s a play on the all but inevitable housing recovery that’s paying you to wait.

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