Demand Rising for (Residential) Land in Fresno

More land buyers than sellers? That’s the story in Fresno today.  In preparing for the economy to rebound, builders are reloading their inventory of buildable lots.  However, finding lots at market rate prices is not easy in Fresno.  Lot inventory has been thinning since 2008 and only a handful of new maps have been recorded or are currently in process at the City.  Inferior locations are still quiet, but residential lots that are in A & B locations are receiving multiple bids.

  • April 2012 Finished Lot Inventory: Fresno = 1,051 Vacant Finished Lots; Clovis = 1,199 Vacant Finished Lots

April 2012 – Land Advisors closed additional finished lots on a rolling takedown to Lennar in southeast Fresno.  The public homebuilder bought the lots as an extension to a legacy project it already has under its wings.

Apartment activity is picking up: This month Santa Barbara Bank & Trust sold 8 acres of unimproved land, approved for 78 multifamily units.

ZONE CHANGE APPROVAL:  On April 4th, the Fresno Planning Commission  unanimously approved plans and a zoning change for a north Fresno 118-home development by McCaffrey Homes with a stipulation that homes on the east side of the project adjacent to the existing Bella Montagna development will be single story.  FULL STORY

  • The 13-acre site was originally zoned for commercial/retail use.  The recent approval by the Planning Commission is controversial for the local residents in the area, and the Fresno City Council will now meet on the issue to vote. (Watch the VIDEO via CBS 47)

GENERAL PLAN UPDATE:  The Fresno GP update calls for a more controlled approach to residential growth. Earlier this month, the Fresno Planning Commission unanimously endorsed Plan A which aims to maintain the current sphere of influence, and protects prime agricultural land from becoming more subdivisions.  Approval is slated for April 19th.

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

West Riverside Report

MULTI-FAMILY: Last week Land Advisors’ West Riverside Team wrapped up the marketing of a 16.5-acre mixed-use (multi-family for-rent and commercial) site known as The Village at Magnolia Square, located in the City of Riverside.

With a lack of comparable land sales early in 2012, the initial challenge in selling the multi-family for-rent land was determining the market value.  Assuming a successful escrow and close, The Village at Magnolia Square will mark the third successful multi-family for-rent land sale in the West Riverside submarket (Land Advisors Organization has been a party to all three sales). With three transactions soon under its belt, Land Advisors’ has established a real value foundation for similar land sale opportunities in the submarket.

SINGLE FAMILY: On the single family detached home front, the overall market in West Riverside remains stagnate.  However, homebuilders are finding success in some areas of South Riverside County such as Temecula.  Stronger than expected interest from homebuyers is causing some homebuilders to increase home prices. If strong absorption rates continue, the finished lot and future lot supply within Temecula will quickly vanish, and likely result in pressure on lot sales in Murrieta, Menifee and Wildomar. One development company has already noticed this trend and purchased one development site and has another in escrow in Wildomar.

APPROVALS:  On Tuesday March 13th, the City of Wildomar heard residents’ environmental concerns for a proposed 151-acre residential project. The project will be developed into 315 single family homes with 3.5 acres dedicated to a commercial center and open space. 

In addition, Menifee’s City Council approved a new General Plan land use map after a two year-long process, with a vote of 4 to 1. The land use plan is the first element in writing for the City’s new General Plan and serves as the basic blue print for how land will be used going forward.

Source: Mitch Casillas, Marketing Consultant, (949) 852-8288 ext. 23

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back on the Central Coast…

As the New Year begins, the California Central Coast is preparing for homebuilding activity in some areas, and inactivity in others.  The good news is that this sub-market will see two new home communities open this year. 

The first to open is Lagunitas, in the quaint beach side town of Carpinteria, one of south Santa Barbara County’s most desirable areas.  Lagunitas is located adjacent to the north side of Highway 101 and is within close proximity to the beach and shopping opportunities.  The master plan will offer three different product types, ranging from 1,360 to 2,421 sq. ft., aimed at appealing to a wide range of home buyers.  Private homebuilder MD2 Communities has already broken ground and is currently forming an interest list.

The second new home community opening in 2012 along the Central Coast is the first component of the Margarita Specific Plan in the City of San Luis Obispo.  MD2 Communities will bring 177 single family homes, an affordable housing site and 16 small-scale commercial opportunities to fruition.  The new homes are planned to range from approximately 1,500 to 2,000 sq. ft., with the majority of the product types consisting of single story plans.  Model homes should be completed in the first quarter of 2012.

Other parts of the Central Coast are not seeing as much forward progress.  In September, Goleta’s City Council rejected a zoning change for the controversial Bishop Ranch housing project.  Bishop Ranch was initially proposed for 1,200 homes, 90,000 feet of commercial space and 67 acres of park land, but the developer withdrew the application at the last minute.  The second attempt with the City, which was unanimously rejected, was a request for the zoning designation to be changed from Agricultural to Mixed Use Urban.  Either way, it looks like the plans for Bishop Ranch are one step back for the moment.

Overall, the Central Coast in 2012 will provide superb opportunities for homebuilders, developers and investors to pick up strategic land positions in a traditionally supply-constrained market in anticipation of what is broadly expected to be a rising new home market in the next few years.

Source: Matt Power, Senior Marketing Consultant, (805) 845-2660

Spotlight on FOLSOM

Located northeast of Sacramento, the City of Folsom is just south of Folsom Lake in Northern California.  Folsom is currently the most desirable sub-market in the Sacramento Region for homebuilders, where average sales prices of homes are now close to DOUBLE those of the overall region.

Folsom Fast Facts:

  • Residential land north of U.S. Highway 50 traded for $1 million per acre (raw) at the peak of the market in 2005.
  • At the current absorption pace, Folsom will be out of finished lots by 2014/2015.
  • Folsom enjoys a 5.7% unemployment rate (current California unemployment is 12%), and thus has minimal foreclosure activity.
  • Folsom’s schools consistently rank in the upper echelon of school districts not only in the region but in the entire state.

Landmark Folsom REO Property Available for Sale:

Land Advisors Organization is currently marketing Carpenter Ranch – a 1,019-acre master planned community located in Folsom’s Sphere of Influence in Sacramento County.

The property rests along 1.5 miles of Highway 50, and was recently entitled for 2,263 residential units and over 3 million square feet of commercial uses.  Previous investment in the land totals over $100 million.

Source: Jim Radler, Senior Marketing Consultant, at (916) 784-3329 ext. 11.