NorCal: 2005… Are we there yet?

It wasn’t that long ago when it seemed like the residential land market would never leave the cellar.  Amazingly, it seems that someone flicked a switch and land prices are surging to what seem like pricing we saw at the height of the market in 2005.

We are not there yet, but getting close.  How can this be when it seems like new home pricing and the re-sale market are still a good 30-40% below peak pricing?  With the sub-contractor trades still aggressively competing for work and construction materials that remain readily available at fair market pricing, the cost savings from the builders fall directly to the land.

I think it won’t be long before we see the associated trade and construction costs begin to rise and we see a plateau in land pricing.  Land owners need to catch the wave and enjoy the ride.

2005 vs 2012 Market Price Line

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

Central Coast Sales are Climbing!

The Central Coast’s South Santa Barbara County submarket, which includes Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and Goleta, has seen a surge in sales volume to date with 199 closed transactions this past October.  Sales volume is WAY up and our trend line has now officially bounced above our 2005 sales volume numbers.  With all of this activity our current median price of $620,000 has also bumped up 2% from this time last year leaving us with one question … Where is the future inventory going to come from?  With thinning resale opportunities and virtually no foreclosed homes on the market prices are sure to jump again over the next six months. 

So what does this mean for Central Coast home builders looking for land opportunities along the Central Coast?  Finding the right land position has traditionally been very difficult in this supply constrained market so if you are a home builder looking to build along the Central Coast, please contact Matt Power at Land Advisors Organization’s Santa Barbara office at 805.845.2660.

Source: Matt Power, Senior Marketing Consultant, (805) 845.2660

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

Play Ball in Western Riverside County!

You win some…

The second quarter of 2012 is in the books in West Riverside County and public home builder sentiment is high nationally and locally. Our hopes are that the positive sales pace continues through the second half of the year which should lead to the first inning in what we hope is a long overdue, extra-inning recovery. In addition to that, according to Hanley Wood data for the second quarter, 10 of 13 active new home markets in West Riverside County experienced an increase in new home sale pricing. That’s the good news.

You lose some…

The bad news is that 2012 has yielded few land transactions to discuss because land bank REO properties have been purged from the market (currently LAO has listed one of the few remaining portfolios of bank REO assets, contact if interested) and land values are generally not yet at a level where the 2008-2010 investors would sell. If the market continues to improve however, 2013 should see a number of sales from the investor community to home builders.

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

The Good, Bad & the Ugly in Sacramento

Sacramento Arena Deal is DOA…  After a whirlwind of meetings between the NBA, the Maloof family and the City of Sacramento, the prospect of building a new arena for the Sacramento Kings is officially dead.  In countless meetings held in locations all over the country, the Maloofs agreed on the terms initially laid out by all sides to build a new arena, structure financing plans and establish a timeline for build out.  However, a number of empty promises from the Maloofs finally came to light as the owners did the Texas Two Step with the NBA and the City, revealing that the deal is not feasible, (even bringing in the family’s own economist to illustrate).

Now Sacramento and the NBA both have egg on their face, and the public and the fans have more questions and doubts that the Kings will ever be viable in Sacramento.

Along with the proposed new arena was the potential for a new wave of jobs – construction and permanent – as well as a start to the redevelopment of the Sacramento Rail Yards.  A new arena would have meant new retail shops and restaurants as well as an onslaught of new homes.

All of the redevelopment ideas will have to be put on hold while the City and Maloofs try to sort out their mess.  In the meantime, the people of Sacramento are angry – some prominent business leaders are even calling for the ouster of the Maloofs and want new ownership to lead the Kings to prosperity… we will see what happens.

Now onto some good news…  Sacramento foreclosures of existing homes are beginning to slow.  In fact, the number of default notices filed in the first quarter of 2012 is the lowest since early 2007.  This should be welcome news for both home buyers and homebuilders alike.

Sacramento Foreclosures

In the last several years, new homebuilders in the greater Sacramento area have been building and selling new homes with pricing that is in line with REO inventory, and in some cases even selling below it.  As the REO product has been dumped onto the market, home pricing and new homebuilder margins have been steadily decreasing.  The Northern California Team has even seen some builders impair lots that were bought just 18 months ago.

With the change of wind direction in just in the last couple of months, builders have started to sniff around again looking for deals and build pipelines for 2013 and beyond.  Furthermore, absorption rates have started to tick up as demand for new homes builds upward.

It looks like Sacramento is finally coming out of the ashes and is ready to start the slow grind toward home price appreciation.

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

2011 = 2012? Seeing Double in NorCal

2011 is gone and we now have upon us a fresh start to a new year (Ahh… deep breath).  But what does that mean for the housing industry?  The Land Advisors Northern California team is looking ahead, and is wary that 2012 might reflect more of what 2011 had to offer.

The Sacramento region is highly sensitive to State budget woes that will likely cut more jobs and hinder organic economic growth in the area.  Home prices appear to be on a downward trend, and foreclosure rates are still high.  A statewide court ruling last week that eliminated redevelopment agencies, threatens the revitalization of the Sacramento downtown area, and now two signature development projects may never see the +$80 million in redevelopment money they were scheduled to receive in coming years.

Among the doom and gloom, the general consensus is that a bottom in the housing market is within clear sight!   Local Northern California investors and developers can see more and more distressed opportunities ahead.  And while many public and private homebuilders remain on the land acquisition sidelines, and are still busy impairing projects that were purchased during the 2010 boom, they are optimistic that the market will gradually get better and home prices will soon start to appreciate.

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

Naughty or Nice? New Home Shoppers Check the List Early in Sacramento

With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas just around the corner, holiday shopping has officially started.  For housing in the Sacramento region, homebuyers started shopping early and are likely to continue through the New Year.  October 2011 showed a 19.5% year to year increase in volume. The reason?  Home prices are continuing to fall… 

San Diego-based DataQuick reported that the average sale price of homes in the Sacramento four-county region declined 9.5% from a year ago.  Although, the decline is not because of falling home values… It appears as though more buyers are flocking to less expensive homes, which is influencing the downward trend in average home price.

The number of months of new home supply on the market is down to 4.2, and even as little as 2.0 in some stronger markets.

Land Deals:

  • The New Home Company purchased a 128-lot subdivision in the master planned community, The Parkway in Folsom.  All but 44 of the lots were “mostly improved.”  Construction on the new homes within the subdivision is scheduled to begin in March 2012.
  • Most of the distressed finished lot deals have already sold in the Sacramento Region, leaving very few for opportunistic builders and investors.
  • The heavy multi-family activity in the San Francisco Bay Area has not yet moved east to reach Sacramento.   Multi-family builders are currently obtaining $1.00 to $1.20 per square foot revenues, which is not enough to justify construction for new product in the Sacramento region.

Source: Jim Radler, Senior Marketing Consultant, (916) 784-3329 x11

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.

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

New Conforming Loan Limits Create Uncertainty in California’s Bay Area

Uncertainty remains high in the Bay Area residential land market following the drop in conforming loan limits to $625,000 from $729,000.

The Bay Area has 72 sub-markets (by Zip Code) where the median home price is now above the new conforming loan limit. What affect this will have on the recovery of the Bay Area housing market is still unknown. Chances are that the compression in loan limits will ultimately correlate to a compression in home prices although not necessarily on a dollar for dollar basis, and the affects could be widely different based on sub-markets.

Currently true “jumbo” loans are priced approximately 100 basis points above “jumbo conforming” loans. Assuming a $626,000 loan and jumbo rate of 5%, a potential home buyer keeping their monthly payment the same will lose approximately $150,000 in buying power.

This phenomenon is most likely to affect the market in the $800,000 – $1 million price point range.  The buyers of these homes would have formerly qualified for a “conforming jumbo” loan if they were putting down at least 20%.  However, they now will need a much larger down payment to stay under the new conforming limits.

At price points above $1 million we would expect there to be a smaller impact, as buyers in that price point have always had to get jumbo loans or put down substantial down payments.

Click the link to see a table outlining the Bay Area sub-markets by zip code with median prices above $625,000: http://www.dqnews.com/Charts/Monthly-Charts/SF-Chronicle-Charts/ZIPSFC.aspx

Source: Steve Reilly, Marketing Consultant, (925) 368-3128

Riding the Santa Clarita Valley Rollercoaster

Homebuilders and developers looking to build and invest in the Santa Clarita Valley (SCV) are faced with high barriers to entry such as high development costs, challenging topography and various entitlement restrictions governed by the County of Los Angeles. 

Four new master planned communities are selling homes in the SCV right now: West Creek/West Hills (Valencia), Fair Oaks (Canyon Country), Plum Canyon (Santa Clarita) and River Village (Valencia).  According to Hanley Wood, there are…

  • 14 new home communities actively selling homes – 6 in Valencia, 5 in Santa Clarita, and 3 in Canyon Country.  11 are single family detached product, 2 townhomes, and one duplex.
  • Total of 1,551 units planned; 1,109 units remaining
  • 29 new home closings this quarter to date (Q3); 86 closings year to date
  • Average monthly sale rate is 1.9 units over the lifetime of the projects. Laurel Park at Plum Canyon and Artisian at West Creek have seen the highest monthly sale rate at over 3 units per month over the lifetime of the project.
  • Home prices range from $270,000 – $656,657. Homes within the communities of Aria, Artisan and Esperto at West Creek; and Echo Pointe and Echo Ridge at Plum Canyon are selling below $400,000.

Homebuilders that are currently selling new homes in SCV are Lennar (West Creek and River Village), KB Home (Echo Pointe at Plum Canyon, Echo Ridge at Plum Canyon and Milan at West Hills), Pardee Homes (Fair Oaks Ranch) and Shapell Homes (Heatherton at Plum Canyon Ranch and Sage at Plum Canyon Ranch).

Multi-family Activity:  In late spring of this year, Archstone Communities purchased 150 townhome units from Pardee Homes.

In July of this year, the property previously proposed for residential development known as Copper Creek, was purchased for $3.1 million by the City of Santa Clarita for inclusion in the City’s park and open space system. The 528-acre parcel is located on the City’s northern border with the County of Los Angeles.  Land Conservation Brokerage, Inc. of San Diego and Land Advisors Organization co-listed the property. Read more: PRESS RELEASE

Source: Randy Coe, CCIM, Senior Marketing Consultant, (949) 852-8288 x18 and Michel Faris, Marketing Consultant, (949) 852-8288 x14

Sacramento Region Catches a Glimpse

Northern California Report:

  1. Market experiencing more downward pressure on pricing. 
  2. New home sales are poor. 
  3. Most public homebuilders are not looking in the Sacramento region at this time.
  4. The Sacramento Region sub-market (including Sacramento, Placer and El Dorado Counties) has an abundance of developable, yet unavailable, residential lots.  Most of the finished lots in the area are controlled by the public homebuilders. Very few are distressed.

Glimpse of light: A few of the Bay Area secondary markets (a.k.a. the “commuter” markets), particularly the community of Mountain House, are starting to show signs of a comeback, which hasn’t happened in roughly 4 years. 

Source:  Jim Radler (916) 784-3329 x11, Senior Marketing Consultant for the Sacramento region sub-market