FRESNO: Fat Tuesday, Skinny Inventory

Now is the time for homebuilders to open their stalled legacy projects. Beazer Homes recently closed out The Groves at Sunnyside Point, their neighborhood adjacent to KB Home’s Olive Lane new home community located in Sunnyside Fresno. New homebuilders will not have to compete as hard for new home buyers shopping the area.

HOME PRICES
According to the California Association of Realtors, Fresno County home prices increased 15.3%, but sales were down 22.2% from the previous year. Madera County saw prices increase 36.1%, but sales were down 24.4% from the previous year. However, sales are looking up with a 19.2% increase in sales from the previous month in Madera County.

December 2012 County Sales and Price Activity

Median Sold Price of Existing Single-Family Homes

# of Sales

County

12-Dec

12-Nov

11-Dec

MTM% Chg

YTY% Chg

MTM% Chg

YTY% Chg

Fresno

$157,620

$148,240

$136,740

6.3%

15.3%

-2.5%

-22.2%

Madera

$144,290

$113,330

$106,000

27.3%

36.1%

19.2%

-24.4%

Source: California Association of Realtors

UNSOLD INVENTORY & TIME ON MARKET
According to Land Advisors Organization research, unsold inventory in Fresno County decreased 7.3% from the previous year and Madera County decreased 47.4% from the previous year. The median time on market decreased 24.1% in Fresno County and increased 25.4% in Madera County from the previous year.

December 2012 County Unsold Inventory and Time on Market

Unsold Inventory Index

Median Time on Market

County

12-Dec

12-Nov

11-Dec

12-Dec

12-Nov

11-Dec

Fresno

3.8 Months

4.2 Months

4.1 Months

26.4 Days

26.3 Days

34.8 Days

Madera

2 Months

3.2 Months

3.8 Months

64.6 Days

27.9 Days

51.5 Days

Source: California Association of Realtors

FINISHED LOT INVENTORY
Home Buyer demand is escalating fast.  Quality resale inventory is sparse.  If you own 10 or more acres of land in the path of development, you should be at the City processing a subdivision map faster than Mardi Gras beads flying from a balcony overlooking Bourbon Street.  If you are not familiar with the entitlement process please contact me so I can help get you started.

NEW DEVELOPMENT
Fresno developers plan medical campus at Millerton Lake. FULL STORY

Source: Mark Utman, Marketing Consultant, (559) 549-6326

San Diego County’s Land Market On Its Own High Speed Train

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Unlike our Sacramento politicians’ boondoggle, San Diego’s land market has been picking up steam faster than a bullet train over the last few months.  According to reliable reports, over 2,400 new residential units were sold last year in San Diego County:

  • 1st Quarter 2012:   475 units sold
  • 2nd Quarter 2012:  680 units sold
  • 3rd Quarter 2012:   631 units sold
  • 4th Quarter 2012:   642 units sold

It is also important to note that approximately one third of the actively selling new home developments in 2012 consisted of condominiums or townhomes.  We expect that percentage to dramatically rise in the near term as monthly rental rates in many parts of the county now exceed monthly mortgage payments (i.e., P.I.T.I. and association dues), available at new construction condominium and townhouse communities.

Job Creation on the Rise

Evidence that this market momentum is growing can be seen in the sales volume reported for the traditionally slow 4th Quarter holiday season where sales exceeded the previous quarter and there was approximately a 30% increase in comparison to the 4th Quarter of 2011 (i.e., 494 sales reported in the 4th Quarter of 2011 versus 642 sales accounted for in the 4th Quarter of 2012).

Absorption Rates Expected to Increase

Although the average rate of absorptions of actively selling developments is still in the 2.0 sales a month range, a rapid decline in available new home supply is expected to boost absorption rates on remaining projects in the near term. For example, there were 113 actively selling new home developments in San Diego County during the 4th Quarter of 2011.  At the end of 2012, there were only 73 actively selling projects – that’s a 55% decline.  Approximately 60 projects sold out over the course of 2012, while only approximately 20 new projects entered the market during the same period of time.  Among the remaining new home developments in the County, approximately 2,233 units are left to either enter the market or currently remain unsold.  This equates to approximately an 11 month supply based upon a continuation of new home sales at a minimum of last year’s rate (i.e., approximately 2,428 annual sales reflecting a recovery beginning in the 2nd Quarter of 2012).  This bodes well for the health of the market going forward given 2012 sales did not pick up steam until the 2nd Quarter. Thus 2013 sales are expected to exceed last year’s total.  Historically, approximately a 12 month supply of unsold inventory (units offered for sale and remaining unsold), is considered approaching a supply/demand balance.

4thQ Actively Selling Projects

 Many housing analysts refer to the housing market rebound in San DiegoCounty and the nation as a “jobless recovery.”  While there is no question that the combination of a dwindling inventory and historically low interest rates have jump started the market, job creation in San Diego County over the last year has increased notably (approximately 29,000 annual net new jobs by year’s end in 2012 as estimated by Point Loma University Economist Lynn Reaser). This is a major factor which has largely flown under the radar due to the publicity related to a declining but relatively high unemployment rate (8.4%).

The Land Advisors Organization Team in San Diego is actively sourcing new land development and home building opportunities.  Call us today before this train is out of sight!

Source: Bob McFarland, Marketing Consultant, (858) 568-7428 ext. 12

Indian Summer Stokes North San Diego County Coastal Market Activity

With the mid-year 2012 turning of the corner in the housing market in San Diego County, demand for housing and residential land along the North County Coastal region has heated up quickly.  Among the 15 actively-selling developments featuring new single family detached housing, the rate of absorption is approaching an average of three sales per month per development.  Most of these developments offer lots averaging between 4,000 and 6,000 square feet with approximately a third of them featuring quarter-acre lots.  New home prices range from the high $500,000’s to $1,350,000, for unit sizes spanning from approximately 2,000 to 4,650 square feet.  Seller incentives are falling and are typically in the one to three percent range.  At the same time, new home prices have begun to rise and average approximately 1.2% higher per development than a year ago at this time. In early September 2012, there were approximately 90 remaining new single family detached homes available for sale along the north coast. This is equivalent to about two months of supply given the current pace of absorption among the actively-selling developments.

Consequently, this robust recovery in the new homes market has elevated subdivision land prices.  Land Advisors Organization has seen recent subdivision land sales in the North County Coastal regions capturing prices equivalent to finished lot values spanning from approximately $425,000 for 6,000 square foot lots, up to $620,000 for quarter acre lots.  Taking advantage of this market momentum Land Advisors Organization’s San Diego Team are currently marketing two outstanding coastal properties for sale: Quail Meadows – an approved tentative tract map for 33 quarter acre lots in Encinitas and Meadowlark Canyon another 33 lots averaging over 5,000 square feet each.  The Meadowlark Canyon site is located in San Marcos, near that cities’ border with neighboring Carlsbad.  Team San Diego will also soon be marketing an ocean close property in North Coastal San Diego in concert with Land Advisors Organization’s outstanding Orange County Team. Details regarding this trophy property will be released in early October 2012.

For more information, please contact Bob McFarland or David Landes at (858) 568-7428.

Source: Bob McFarland, Marketing Consultant, (858) 568-7428 ext. 12

San Diego: How Banks Helped the Housing Market Get Back On Its Feet

“Shadow Inventory” was a dirty word for most of the past recession with respect to the housing market.  In general terms, it meant there was a large number of homes in foreclosure or soon to be foreclosed upon, which would flood the market and drive down home prices, and keep the housing market on its heels for years to come.  While no one will argue that the sheer volume of foreclosures nationwide and in Southern California is substantial, the threat of flooding the market has not materialized. 

 In San Diego County, as in most areas of Southern California, the Banks were smart and only released foreclosures to the marketplace in measured increments, so as to attract interest in inventory at reduced prices without flooding the market.  San Diego County foreclosures have recently been reported to be down 51% in comparison to a year ago.  As a result, investment groups interested in purchasing large quantities of lower priced foreclosure properties for the strong rental market have helped generate an overall market craving in San Diego County for relatively low-priced housing (generally posture below approximately $500,000).  Brokers active within marketplaces sporting significant volumes of housing priced below $500,000 report multiple offers for any available inventory, often driving up prices.  The average price of new and existing housing sold last month in San Diego County ($335,500), accounted for a 1.7% increase over the average price of homes sold in June of 2011.  The total sales volume in the resale market county-wide for single family detached homes through the first half of 2011 represents almost a 10% increase over the first six months of last year.

 

The market recovery for low-priced housing, coupled with long-standing reduced interest rates, is very slowly beginning to work itself up the price ladder of housing throughout San Diego County.   For example, in higher priced submarkets such as the North County Coastal Area, rates of absorption for new home developments have grown from an average of one sale per month per project last year, to approximately two sales per month in 2012. 

 Although generation of new jobs in San Diego County is headed in the right direction, the slow pace of employment growth has been the major force preventing a rapid recovery in the housing market.  With the potential cut back in government defense spending in San Diego County next year, the pace of job growth is not expected to pick up in the very near term.  However, continued low levels of housing inventory (the number of homes listed for sale at the end of the 1st Quarter of 2012 fell to its lowest level in nearly three years), government maintenance of low interest rates, and continued growth in demand for rental housing is expected to continue to fuel the housing market recovery, but at a continued gradual rate of growth.  Most economic forecasters are predicting housing appreciation in San Diego County in the near term to range between approximately 2% and 3% annually.  The moderate pace of market recovery may be a blessing in disguise; as a more gradual velocity in recovery will give the market its legs for more sustained growth; in contrast to the rapid inflation run-ups of past market cycles which eventually lead to faster boom to bust corrections. 

 Down the road, this bona fide housing recovery at the bottom of the “food chain” so to speak, will likely be looked upon as the flash point which signaled the beginning of the market recovery in the housing market in San Diego County.

 Source: Bob McFarland, Marketing Consultant, (858) 568-7428 ext. 12

Sacramento: Where’s the Dirt?

The Sacramento region finally appears to be emerging from the homebuilding doldrums.  Over the last several months, homebuilders seem to have a new found confidence as new home absorption levels have begun to tick up to levels not seen for several years.

Pricing on the other hand, is still lagging with maybe a small bump in appreciation.  All of this said, ready-to-build lots are becoming scarce within the Sacramento submarket, and at this rate, some areas could possibly end 2013 with a lot supply of zero.

The key drivers to getting builders back to Sacramento will be continued increased scarcity of deals in the San Francisco Bay Area, in addition to sustained new homes sales that we have seen in the area over the last several months.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the recent rise in homebuilding could be thwarted by an unlikely factor, a shortage of land in desirable locations.  Homebuilders are realizing they cannot focus strictly on the Bay Area locales just due to the fact that high land prices and land scarcity will forbid them from ramping up deliveries and allowing them to grow organically.  If they want to be able to produce new home delivery volume, they will have to start looking in the Sacramento region as well as some parts of the Central Valley.  If and when they move eastward, we will start to see homebuilders look at “paper” lot or entitlement deals, where in the past they were only focused on finished lots.  Time will tell.

Source: Ryan Long, Senior Marketing Consultant, (916) 784-3329 ext. 16

Summer Sizzle in The OC

The summer sun is here and hopefully it’s shining bright on Taylor Morrison’s GRAND OPENING of the Palisades – located in the Vista Del Verde master plan in Yorba Linda. Townhomes will range from 2,206-2,626 square feet and pricing starts in the high $500’s for 6 floor plans.  The opening event is planned for Saturday, June 30th!

Apartments here in Orange County remain HOT!  Rents are UP and more supply continues to come on the line and lease up quickly – even leasing up ahead of schedule, as is the case at The Irvine Company’s newest community, Cypress Village.

The City of Lake Forest approved Toll Brothers & Shea’s plans for Baker Ranch, a +2,300-unit development on +380 acres. The land is one of the City’s “Opportunities Study Areas,” enabling residential development now that the land use is no longer affected by the El Toro Marine Base flight path.

In the recent elections, the City of Yorba Linda passed both Measures H & I.  The Measures allow for increased development on a number of sites that will accommodate moderate, low and very low income households.

The Olson Company will be building 27 single-family homes and 61 townhomes  at the future Solano Walk in Fountain Valley adjacent to the Civic Center.

Source: Allison Rawlins, Marketing Consultant, (949) 852-8288 ext. 26, and Mike Hunter, Senior Marketing Consultant, (949) 852-8288 ext. 37

Around the Bend in the Bay Area

It feels as though we’ve turned a huge corner in the Bay Area real estate market.

Silicon Valley is producing jobs again at a solid pace (many are anticipating stock option millionaires boosting demand), and the commercial market is rebounding as office space has been absorbed and demand for new space is driving new construction.

Vacancy rates, rent increases and CAP rates for apartments are all at all time highs, spurring tons of new apartment development.

While all these data points are great signs for the recovery, they come with one potential downside—increased construction costs. While we haven’t seen it dramatically impact land values yet, a demand for labor and materials increases, construction costs appear to be headed up for the first time in many years. This could act as a bit of an inhibitor in any large run up in land prices.

Source: Steve Reilly, Marketing Consultant, (925) 791-2194