San Diego County: A Shortage of Land in a Housing Market Screaming For Inventory

You don’t have to be a whiz at Economics 101 to understand the supply and demand imbalance affecting available housing and developable land in San Diego County.  You only need to drive around town or talk to neighbors in order to understand that the County is poised to experience a crises with respect to finding available housing to meet the demand.

According to the San Diego Association of Governments, the pace of residential building permits in San Diego County over the last five years is about half of what the region now needs each year (12,000 units needed annually).  In addition, only approximately 4,300 resale homes are currently on the market within San Diego County – a four year low according to numbers from the local Realtors Association.  A six month supply of housing inventory has historically been associated with a balance in supply and demand.

Currently, there is less than a two month supply of housing inventory in San Diego County!

Building Permit Chart

The scarcity of housing supply has fueled double-digit annual increases in the median price of homes sold in San Diego County in each of the past seven months, according to Data Quick based in La Jolla.  Based upon a recent per square footage analysis from the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors, Single Family Home prices have risen 14% from a year ago and Condominium/Townhouse resale values have skyrocketed 21%.

According to Data Quick, the 19% gain in the price of homes sold in March 2013 was the highest annual gain seen since January of 2005 (a few months before the peak in home values prior to the recently past recession).

Would-be buyers active in the resale market must compete with a significant percentage of “all cash” buyers (now accounting for approximately a third of all transactions).  Thus, there is amped up demand for new homes which once represented one sale for every four to six resales.  New home sales made up only 7% of total residential home sales in San Diego County in March 2013.  The drop in market share shows that fewer homes are being constructed and fewer acres of developable land are available for builders.

Future demand for housing may only increase as unemployment eases and low interest rates (now below 4%) jump start throngs of current renters who understand that their total monthly obligations for a condominium or townhome are likely now less then the rent they are paying each month.

As a result, LAO is now seeing unprecedented demand for both entitled and un-entitled subdivision land throughout the greater San Diego Metropolitan Area.

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

Inland Empire… It’s FBO!

Economic news in Southern California’s Inland Empire appears to be looking up these days.  But is the homebuilding recovery here to stay?  Is it Facebook Official?

Last week, Land Advisors’ Senior Marketing Consultant Doug Jorritsma gave a presentation to a group of professionals regarding the state of the land/homebuilding market in the Inland Empire (Western San Bernardino & Riverside Counties).  On board with the wave of social media sweeping our communication style these days, Doug kept the message short, sweet, and direct, highlighting the market facts with a Facebook-like thumbs up or thumbs down.  Check ‘em out here…

DISLIKE

  • Unemployment/job generation still a big problem
  • State financial crisis looms large (Redevelopment Agencies and Schools)
  • Construction lending still challenging
  • Number of housing permits is currently 28% of what is was at the market’s peak

LIKE!

  • The worst is behind us!
  • Lenders dispositions are done! (Except for the little stuff.)
  • Most public and private homebuilders will be increasingly active going forward
  • Single and multi-family building permits are on the rise – (Currently DOUBLE 2009 numbers)
  • Institutional capital and private equity slowly giving THUMBS UP
  • No finished lot supply creates a near-term shortage
  • Land values are slowly trending up
  • Foreclosure activity is trending down
  • Five-month upward trend of improving new home sales
  • Big box industrial gets a double THUMBS UP
  • Interest rates are to remain low through 2014
  • Consumer confidence is improving which means retail sales are improving
  • Apartment vacancies currently at 4% – 6%, rents are up 1% – 5%

Land Advisors ♥’s Social Media

Source:Doug Jorritsma, Senior Marketing Consultant, and Winn Galloway, Senior Marketing Consultant (949) 852-8288

Greener Fairways In Coachella Valley’s Future!

What does a $20M pledge for a new medical school, the opening of a privately-funded law school, and a new four-year undergraduate degree program all have in common?

Answer: The Coachella Valley – All of these bright new developments are occurring NOW within the Coachella Valley!

The Coachella Valley can also boast:

  • Two new private homebuilders have entered the sub-market;
  • Several public homebuilders have closed on multiple finished lot opportunities; and
  • A 25-year real estate veteran backed by “New York money” has  closed on and currently entitling a 7,800 unit community

Home Sales Activity

New home sales: Toll Brothers experienced five sales at its new Alta project, located in South Palm Springs, within the first month of its opening!  By selling homes with a price point range from the mid-$700,000’s to the mid-$800,000’s, Toll Brothers is demonstrating how the high-end home market is returning to the Coachella Valley.

Home Resales:  According to MarketWatch, resale home prices have risen 13% since September 2011. For the first time in years, resale inventory is below 4,000 homes and number of months supply is under four months. Last year in April, over 5,700 homes were on the market (approximately 5.7 months of inventory). While prices are still low, both sales pricing and absorption are heading in the right direction!

Noteworthy Permit Activity

The City of Rancho Mirage has issued more new home permits so far this year than all new home permits issued in the City in 2010 and 2011 combined!

In case you missed it:

Stone James led a panel discussion on land in April at the Desert Valleys Building Association’s economic update, “Cut to the Chase for 2012: Our Economic Future.”  The topics and insight generated from the panel discussion are well-summarized and quoted in an article by Mike Perrault at The Desert Sun (via MyDesert.com). Read the article to see what Stone and his fellow real estate experts had to say: Panel: Housing the Best Bet for New Growth.

Source: Stone James, Marketing Consultant, (760) 219-7227

Coachella Valley: 1, 2, 3… Cha Cha Cha…

Some impressive numbers are driving growth within the Coachella Valley. 10,000… 300,000… and 3,600,000… According to the Social Security Administration, these are the numbers of Baby Boomers who are turning 65 years old each day, each month and each year, respectively, for the next 19 years! 

Ranked by CNN Money.com as the second Best Retirement Destination in the United States, Palm Springs (and the rest of the Coachella Valley) is experiencing growth and demand today not seen in many other markets across the US.

From a land investment perspective, demand and activity within the Coachella Valley and Imperial Valley is decidedly picking up.

  • Toll Brothers is demonstrating that selling new homes in the Coachella Valley for $740,000 IS possible.  The Nation’s top luxury homebuilder sold FIVE homes in its first month of sales at their new Alta project in Palm Springs.
  • With the majority of the finished lot opportunities spoken for within the Valley, interest in entitled but undeveloped land is picking up.
  • D.R. Horton is having success finding qualified home buyers for Renaissance at the Gallery in Palm Desert.  With homes ranging from $269,990 to $355,000 the community is at about 50% build-out and is seeing increased interest from potential buyers. 
  • In 2011 the volume of resale home transactions within the Coachella Valley was 96% of the 2004 market peak (7,275 vs. 7,574). Conversely, 2011 new home building permits are at the lowest levels since before 1983 according to Marketwatch, LLC.

CLOSED DEAL IN IMPERIAL CO.!  The Coachella/Imperial Team (Stone James & David Landes) represented the buyer (investor) and the seller (lender) in the sale of 222 acres of prime farmland located within Brawley city limits.  This Imperial County buy-and-hold asset has an approved Specific Plan for 1,149 residential units.  Contact Stone or David for more details on the deal.

Source: Stone James, Marketing Consultant, (760) 219-7227

Slow as Molasses in Ventura County

Land development activity is still slow and sticky in Ventura County, as very few land deals have traded hands in the coastal county in recent months.  Landed shared back on September 29th that home buyers are drawn to the region’s beachside lifestyle, but the County’s restrictions on new developments create a very supply constrained and difficult development environment for homebuilders.

In a recent article for HometownStation.com, a representative from the Los Angeles/Ventura Chapter of the Building Industry Association of Southern California said, “The weakness in single-family construction, which historically has been more consistent than multifamily projects, is further proof that local governments need to work more closely with homebuilders to allow projects to pencil out.”   

The same article reported that 458 multi-family units and only 116 single-family homes were permitted in Ventura County during the first nine months of 2011.

Eighteen single-family home permits were issued in Ventura County in September, compared with two in August and 14 in September 2010. Those homes are being built in Fillmore, Oxnard, Ventura, Simi Valley and unincorporated areas.  Oxnard leads Ventura County in housing starts with 337 year to date, which is by far the most in the County. 

Lenders served 1,535 notices of default in the third quarter in Ventura County, slightly down from the same period last year but up 35.3% from the second quarter.  669 homeowners in the County lost their houses or condominiums in the past three months.

A total of 772 new, condominium and resale homes were sold in Ventura County in September, at a median price of $349,000. This price is down from $355,000 in August.

Source: Michel Faris, Marketing Consultant, (949) 852-8288 x14

1.21 Gigawatts?! Trying to Get Back to the Future in Fresno…

It seems as though the Fresno residential land market is revisiting its past… residential raw land is currently selling for prices paid back in 2000.  During the market peak five or six years ago, unimproved vacant land in “A” locations sold in Fresno for $300,000 per acre.  Today it’s going for prices ranging from $60,000 to $85,000 per acre.

Local homebuilders are in the early stages of reloading their land inventory.  Housing Capital is playing a huge part, as the lender is one of a few banks enthusiastic to offer A, D and C loans.

Recent Land Deal:  Homebuilders are buying un-entitled dirt again but in smaller bites.  A local builder just purchased 10 acres of unimproved land in the heart of northeastern Fresno.  

Fresno local homebuilder Granville Homes is knocking the dust off of Westlake, a master planned community in west central Fresno that has been “mothballed” for the last five years.  The 430-acre project is now scheduled to break ground sometime in 2012.  Westlake is a promising master plan by a talented local builder.  This could spur a land rush from builders and developers alike looking to ride the coattails of this new community now anchoring West Fresno.

According to Fiserv, a financial analytics company, Madera is on the mend…  Fiserv identified Madera (about 25 miles northwest of Fresno) as a “winner” in a long list of sub-markets around the U.S. in terms of housing valuations.  The Chicago Tribune article states that home values across the Nation are anticipated to decrease in the coming year, but that home values in the Madera area will gain 15.5%!

Fresh from the FresnoBee.com News Blog… the number of foreclosures in the Central Valley fell during the third quarter of this year compared to the same time a year ago.  However, building permits are way down. In Fresno, only 19 single-family permits were pulled in September compared to 113 in August, and 120 permits a year ago at the same time. …Adapting to changing demographics and consumers’ needs, Lennar Homes rolls out a new model in the Central Valley.

So, despite Fresno residential land values resetting to decade lows, Land Advisors is looking to blast a few gigawatts into the market with two large Fresno area listings in early November – stay tuned!

Source: Mark Utman, Marketing Consultant, (559) 449-4500

Santa Clarita Valley Economic Snapshot: IMPROVING

Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Division’s Economic Snapshot report for July indicated that the Santa Clarita Valley (SCV) local economy is doing better than many of its surrounding communities.  Housing prices are moving UPWARD, and the local unemployment is around 8%.  Notice of Defaults recorded between July 1010 and July 2011 dropped 32%.  Read more: http://www.the-signal.com/section/24/article/52558/

SALES STATS: Q3 2011, Santa Clarita Valley (Source: Hanley Wood)

Detached Product

  • Regular Resale: Average Sale Price $435,450; Average Price/SF $195; Closings 394
  • REO Sale: Average Sale Price $339,079; Average Price/SF $169; Closings 121
  • New Home Sale: Average Sale Price $475,857; Average Price/SF $191; Closings 42
  • Foreclosures: Closings 198

Attached Product

  • Regular Resale:  Average Sale Price $240,126;  Average Price/SF $177;  Closings 182
  • REO Sale:  Average Sale Price $182,178;  Average Price/SF $155;  Closings 88
  • New Home Sale:  Average Sale Price $465,167;  Closings 9
  • Foreclosures:  Closings 137

Building permits are still hovering at incredibly low numbers these days in the SCV.  According to a recent Santa Clarita Signal article, most of the SCV’s building permits requested are for single family units.  This differs greatly from neighboring sub-markets where multi-family activity is booming.

Builders and developers are still waiting for lower development fees in the Santa Clarita Valley.  They are having a difficult time finding residential land deals that make sense given the current economic environment. (Development impact fees are currently averaging approximately $50,000 per lot.)

Source: Michel Faris, Marketing Consultant, (949) 852-8288 x14

W. Riverside County: Multi-Family Land is Hot…Or Not?

Market Activity – Closed Deals: (Single Family Detached):  Two significant land transactions have closed escrow in the West Riverside County (WRC) sub-market within the last 30 days. In both cases, the buyer was not a public homebuilder. Active buyers in the land market are private investors seeking well-located paper lot and entitlement opportunities and are very bullish in the Cities of Temecula, Murrieta, French Valley, Moreno Valley and Corona.

Public homebuilders remain quiet and are focused on selling through projects they purchased in 2010. However, one public homebuilder does have two sites under contract in Temecula.

A number of other residential projects are currently in escrow in WRC and Land Advisors is on track to close two transactions by month’s end.

On The Market: (Multi-family – For Rent):  Two prominent apartment development sites are available for sale.  Both sites are well-located within the City of Corona.  Apartment land interest and perceived value remains optimistic.  However there have been few sales to justify this optimism. Land Advisors did list and sell Magnolia Village last year which remains the highest comparable apartment land sale in the market.

Building Permit Activity:  In Riverside County last month, builders obtained government permits for 473 units, (257 single family homes and 216 multi-family units – a majority of which are apartments). This is an increase from August which saw permits at 329 units (Source: Press Enterprise).

Source: Mitch Casillas, Marketing Consultant, (949) 852-8288 x23

Fresno?… Fres-YES! Permits, Pigskins & Progress

  • New home sales in Fresno and Madera Counties are still slumping www.ksee24.com
  • City of Fresno & City of Clovis together have 2,200 vacant finished lots.
  • Central San Joaquin Valley Single Family Permits pulled YTD = about 760
  • Foreclosures are down – www.thebusinessjournal.com
  • Fresno County unemployment is still hovering around 17%
  • One public homebuilder made the most notable lot purchase in 2011 – $85,000 per finished lot in a highly desirable area of Clovis
  • This month, the City of Sanger (15 minutes west of Fresno) eliminates development fees for new home construction. www.ksee24.com
  • 3Q 2011 – Land Advisors sold 17 acres in Clovis and 112 partially improved lots in Fresno.  Both were bank REO transactions.
  • Although many REOs sold to investors in 2011, there are still opportunities for investors to buy distressed lots/land.
  • Earlier this year Bonadelle Neighborhoods broke ground on the Brighton Master Plan. The first neighborhood will have 161 lots.  First home closing is scheduled around Thanksgiving. 
  • This summer Wilson Homes began construction on Herndon Avenue, building their new plan called “elev8ions” elev8ions.com
  • Last Saturday Fresno State Bulldogs traveled to Cal Berkeley… unfortunately the “Dogs” lost 36-21.  Next game is this Saturday at Nebraska.

Source: Mark Utman, Marketing Consultant (559) 449-4500 x127

Coachella Valley: Greater than the Peak?!

Coachella Valley FAST FACTS:

  1. The number of resale home transactions in the Coachella Valley in 2010 was greater than the number of resale home transactions at the peak of the market in 2004. At one time in 2010, the Coachella Valley represented almost 20% of all building permit activity throughout the Inland Empire.
  2. A public homebuilder recently purchased 49 more single family lots within the “Gallery” development located in North Palm Desert due to the community’s growing home sales.
  3. In the last week, Land Advisors closed two deals in the Coachella Valley, zoned for either commercial or multi-family use.

Stone James (760) 219-7227, Land Advisors’ Marketing Consultant covering the Coachella Valley sub-market, is seeing a substantial increase in land market activity in 2011, compared with the second half of 2010. Investors are realizing that while values within the Valley are at their lowest point in close to a decade, end user demand is making a comeback!

Stone is currently marketing three unique land projects in the Coachella Valley in varying stages of development. You can read more about these featured listings in the California Division’s Quarterly Newsletter.