CLEAR! We have a pulse in the Coachella Valley!

The Coachella Valley, once known as the “last to arrive and the first to leave” any housing market ‘party,’ is alive and kicking again with significant investment and development from homebuilders and investors.

Toll Brothers, in its first acquisition since Stone Creek Ranch in 2005, recently purchased two partially built projects which are now going vertical! These projects are located in Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage.

Another public builder closed on some well-located lots in North Palm Desert.

Two private builders, Far West Industries and Alta Verde Group, are joining the ranks of top builders within the Coachella Valley.  The folks at Far West have started construction on Luminaire in Palm Springs and have also picked up other well located assets recently.  Beverly Hills-based Alta Verde Group is in the process of going vertical on lots within Escena in Palm Springs in addition to a partially built project in La Quinta.

Local Coachella Valley builders are also showing their resilience and dedication… Family Development is working through sales at the beautiful Villa Portofino active adult project in Palm Desert.

Investors who acknowledge the Coachella Valley as one of the top retirement destinations nationally are taking advantage of low land prices, and are scooping up some terrific residential land opportunities.

Quick demographic fact: The Coachella Valley is one of the fastest-growing areas in the U.S. due in part to its location in Riverside County, and also to real estate booms in the 1970s to 1990s. State projections estimate that the Coachella Valley’s population will pass 700,000 by the year 2020, and one million by 2035. Demographers believe the total population already surpassed the 500,000 mark.  This number does not include the additional 100,000 temporary seasonal residents known as “snowbirds” who arrive to stay during the winter months (from the end of October to the end of April).  Source: Riverside County Projects 2006 and Land Advisors Research

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

Few Builders Finding Opportunities in Supply Constrained Ventura County

Very few residential land REO’s are available for sale in Ventura County at this time.  Most of the REO properties sold in 2009 and 2010, and now only four remain.

Ventura County’s eight primary cities are desirable locations for homebuilders and developers.  Home buyers are drawn to the region’s beachside lifestyle (good schools, safe cities, rolling hills and wide open spaces).

However, the County’s restrictions on new developments create a very supply constrained environment for homebuilders.  Many homebuilders and developers would love to find the right opportunity at the right price in the area.  Now it’s a matter of finding available deals that pencil in the current economic environment.

Homebuilders currently active in Ventura County:

  • D.R. Horton building in Thousand Oaks
  • Toll Brothers building in Moorpark
  • Standard Pacific Communities and Watt Communities building in Simi Valley
  • Watt Communities, Standard Pacific Homes and Shea Communities building in Oxnard
  • City Ventures building in Ventura

Ventura County Lot Suppy (Source: Hanley Wood):

  • 3,812 Tentative Mapped Lots (Approximately 65% of these lots are located in Ventura and Oxnard)
  • 1,366 Finished Lots (Approximately 60% of these lots are located in Moorpark)

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

San Diego County Land Prices Pushing UPWARD

Residential land prices in San Diego County are trending up!  Check out the San Diego Business Journal article this week, where Land Advisors’ Senior Marketing Consultant, David Landes, discusses the County’s residential (single family & multi-family) land trends. READ HERE: San Diego Business Journal Article

Public and private homebuilders and developers are showing strong interest in big residential projects throughout San Diego County.  Land Advisors is receiving a large number of inquiries from around the U.S. and abroad for the Lakes above Rancho Santa Fe, a 248-lot project in the Santa Fe Valley.

Heard on the Street: Davidson Communities, who has been building homes in the Carmel Valley corridor for nearly 30 years, is rumored to be under contract to sell a portion of its Fairbanks Country Villa project.

The San Diego South Bay market (Chula Vista) is starting to heat up.  Builders and developers are working on future residential projects in anticipation of an economic turn.

New home projects in Coastal San Diego are doing well.  City Ventures and K. Hovnanian have recently started building communities.  Look for sales flags in Leucadia and Carlsbad.

Multi-family product remains hot.  Watch for a few cities to start considering re-zoning land from industrial and commercial use to residential use.

Redevelopment funds: Builders and developers need to continue to pressure their politicians to fight for redevelopment funds which are threatened by Sacramento. This will have a big effect on future downtown San Diego development and potential relocation of the San Diego Chargers NFL team.

Source: David Landes, Senior Marketing Consultant, (858) 568-7428

Big Waves in the Central Coast

Just south of San Luis Obispo, along Central California’s picturesque coastline, lies the area known as the “Five Cities,” which includes the Cities of Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach, Grover Beach, Oceano and Shell Beach. Wedged between the beach and Highway 101, this area is one of the most desirable and highly sought after among Central Coast homeowners. However, it is also extremely supply constrained in terms of residential land and new home inventory. Even though the Five Cities area does currently have a good amount of commercially zoned land, residential land opportunities have been harder to come by.

Five Cities Residential Lot Inventory (as of 2nd Quarter, 2011)*:

  • Vacant Developed Lots (Detached Product) = 200
  • Vacant Developed Lots (Attached Product) = 15
  • Future Lot Supply (Detached Product) = 406
  • Future Lot Supply (Attached Product) = 246

*Source: Metrostudy (Q2 ’11) and Land Advisors Organization Research

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

Rockin’ Out in the OC

  • The City of Irvine approved 5,000 homes at FivePoint Communities’ Great Park Neighborhoods (See OC Register graphic :: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/park-316992-fivepoint-great.html?graphics)
  • A buyer was selected for Pacific City in Huntington Beach; the note sale is rumored to have transacted at north of $55M
  • It’s the end of a water park era: Wild Rivers shuts down this coming Sunday, September 25th to make way for yet another Irvine Company apartment project called Los Olivos, which will bring 1,750 additional units to the Irvine Spectrum area.  Not to worry, though, the Verizon Amphitheater will still be rockin’ until 2017.  http://www.ocregister.com/articles/irvine-318601-noise-units.html

 Source: Allison Rawlins, Marketing Consultant, (949) 852-8288 x26

Lakers Game Anyone?

With all the negativity shared around the real estate industry these days, the California Division’s “Team SB” (known for its cheerful demeanor and rosy disposition) is pouring optimism from the half-full glass in this week’s Landed blog post:

  1. Despite volatile market conditions, single family lots are still trading to public and private builders in well-located sub-markets along the I-15 Corridor. Several properties zoned for residential use are currently in escrow in Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga and Eastvale/Dairylands.
  2. New homes sales are slow throughout San Bernardino County, however, a few communities are selling quite well. For example, Beazer Homes’ (BZH), The Enclave at Crafton Hills, located in Yucaipa, has sold 9 homes in the last two months. Land Advisors originally sold the Crafton Hills lots in “finished” condition to Beazer in late 2010.
  3. Beaumont has been one of Richmond American Homes (MDC), strongest selling sub-markets this year. The public builder’s two actively selling communities are Kensington at Tournament Hills (from low $200s) and Woodhaven (from the upper $100s).
  4. If there is in fact an NBA season (please God!), don’t miss the Lakers game at Citizens Business Bank Arena (next to Team SB’s multi-family listing: Piemonte at Ontario Center) on October 12th.

Team SB covers residential land activity in San Bernardino and Northwest Riverside Counties. For more information on this sub-market (or more cheery market insight), please contact Doug Jorritsma, Senior Marketing Consultant, (949) 852-8288 x13 and Winn Galloway, Marketing Consultant (949) 852-8288 x27.

Urban Infill: War and Peace in the LA Basin

The Land Advisors Urban Infill team is currently working with several developers who have recently submitted tentative tract maps, are revising existing tract maps, or intend to submit new tract maps for for-sale housing developments.  The Team is seeing the highest concentration of activity in Northeast Los Angeles (Echo Park, Silver Lake, Eagle Rock, and Glassell Park).

The City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety’s September newsletter revealed that the City’s number of housing starts year-to-date is still low (-31% YOY).  However, plan check revenue is up (41% YOY), indicating an upswing of future housing supply.  Newsletter Sept 2011

Ideally located new home communities selling well-designed homes are showing strong sales numbers. In the third quarter, the Urban Infill Team led the closing eight single family attached lots at Lennar’s Playa Vista. In response to the growing demand for additional product in Playa Vista, Lennar closed the 2nd and 3rd lot take downs four months early. 

Los Angeles Land Use Update:  The Planning Department’s Code Studies Section unveiled late last week a draft ordinance that would allow the creation of site-specific development rules that could loosen-up laws on density, setbacks and open space requirements. The new process, called Planning Unit Development, is part of the Department’s 3-year-old effort to streamline the Municipal Code while also encouraging more public participation. Some might say those goals are as congruent as war and peace. http://www.landusela.net/2011/09/planning-dept-unveils-latest.html

Source: Tim Barden, Marketing Consultant, (949) 852-8288 x30, and Richard Byrd, Senior Marketing Consultant (626) 376-9840 x13, and Chris Gomez-Ortigoza, Marketing Consultant, (626) 376-9840 x14

Who’s that Buyer in the Antelope Valley?

The most active buyers currently picking up land in the Antelope Valley right now are private investors who have been trading land in the sub-market for decades.  City Ventures recently closed on the 585-Acre Joshua Ranch in West Palmdale. No new deals have transacted in East Palmdale since February 2010.

Two Lancaster deals to note that were brokered by the Land Advisors’ High Desert Team in recent months:

  • The Reserve – 32 Finished Lots in West Lancaster
  • Falcon Point – 219 Finished and Semi-finished Lots in East Lancaster

Only a handful of residential land REO’s remain available for sale within the Antelope Valey sub-market.  Land Advisors currently has three of approximately the five total exclusive listings.

Development impact fees have held steady, with little or no change in rates in the City of Lancaster in 2011.

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

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

Has Sacramento Sunk to the Bottom?

  • Property assessments declined 2.9% in the four-county Sacramento area during the 2011-2012 fiscal year.  Read more: www.sacbee.com
  • Distress sales continue to weigh down real estate prices in the Sacramento area, which remained flat during the most recent four-month period.  Read more: www.sacbee.com
  • Last week Sacramento’s arena committee unveiled funding options for a new sports and entertainment center that would use a mix of private and public dollars and user fees.  Read more: www.bizjournals.com
  • Matching federal funds for the Natomas Levee Improvement Project are currently being negotiated at the federal level and should have some direction in November. The hope is to have an “A99” Flood Level Designation by summer 2012.  Check the following website for more information: http://www.safcanlip.org/facts.html.
  • Unemployment is still above 12% for the Sacramento region. Sacramento residents are feeling anxiety over what the State may do with its employees if budget issues continue.
  • Bids are due Wednesday (9/14/11) from interested parties in the unsold condos at the L Street Lofts in midtown.  The $55 million L Street Lofts were originally built by prominent developer Sotiris Kolokotronis. Onewest Bank foreclosed in April on 70 unsold units at the seven-story 92-unit signature condominium project in midtown that struggled to find buyers. 
  • Fixed mortgage rates fell this week to the lowest levels in six decades. But few Americans (including Sacramento home buyers) can take advantage of the rates to refinance or buy a home. Read more: www.builderonline.com 

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

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

Bay Area: Tale of 2 Cities

Really hot and really cold.  That’s the story in the San Francisco Bay Area residential land sub-markets right now. And the temps are only getting more extreme. 

  • Sizzling HOT:  The primary Bay Area sub-markets, the areas within a 20-30 minute commute from the Silicon Valley and San Francisco, are currently driving the homebuilding market.  Property values have come off the ground and new home sales are picking up to relatively healthy levels.  In the Cities of Sunnyvale, Mountain View and Palo Alto, projects across the spectrum are achieving a sales velocity of 1 sale per week which has led land values to climb back to over $3 million per acre.
  • Example deal: Land Advisors recently represented the buyer and the seller in the sale of 19 partially improved lots in Los Gatos, known as Highlands of Los Gatos.
  • Brrrrr COLD:  The Bay Area’s tertiary sub-markets tell a different story.  New home sales are lagging, land values are deteriorating and the market has yet to hit bottom.  Areas with little or no interest from homebuilders or developers include Oakland, Oakley and Pittsburg.
  • A particular area of interest for land buyers is in luxury lots.  With prices off 50% from peak levels, handfuls of buyers are showing up for a chance to buy bulk lot sales emerging from distressed situations in A+ locations.

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

South Central Valley: “Hold on Tight!”

2011 began with renewed optimism that California’s Central Valley residential land market would improve and home sale prices would begin to stabilize.  As Q2 rolled around it became evident this optimism may be short-lived.

In 2011 the Central Valley sub-market (including Kern, Kings, Madera, and Tulare Counties) has seen a slight decrease in foreclosure and REO sales (currently at 32% and 28% respectively); yet new home sales continue to lag far behind at a little over 5% of total sales.

Tertiary markets (including the cities of Arvin, McFarland and Wasco) which traditionally attract builders who utilize government subsidies for potential home buyers are experiencing extended wait periods, or are unable to obtain financing altogether.

Most public homebuilders and larger regional builders have left the valley or “shelved” their projects until the market shows real signs of recovery.

However, there are investors and developers with long-term horizons looking for land/lot opportunities and have been successful in closing transactions throughout the South Central Valley.

Source: Jason Hepp, Senior Marketing Consultant, (661) 702-9080 x14

West Riverside County: 4 BIG Deals

Several large residential land deals (consisting of +500 lots) have closed in West Riverside County in 2011. 

Land Advisors represented the buyers and the sellers in three of the most notable transactions: McSweeny Farms (1,330 lots in Hemet), Summerwind Ranch (3,683 lots in Calimesa) and Underwood (543 lots in Menifee).  Another large completed deal to note is Stoneridge with 2,200 lots in Unincorporated Riverside County.

Public homebuilders are currently refraining from purchasing more residential lots within the County’s secondary and tertiary markets of San Jacinto, Hemet and Perris, as finished lot values in these sub-markets are off 55-65% from peak values. 

The lot values in and around the primary market of Corona are currently off peak values by 35%.

Richmond American Homes (MDC), Beazer Homes (BZH), D.R. Horton (DHI), and Meritage Homes (MTH) have completed transactions in the West Riverside County sub-market during 2011.  However, private investors have been more aggressive in seizing opportunities, and are proving to be more active buyers.

Source: Jeff Spindler, Founding Principal (949) 852-8288 x12 and Mitch Casillas, Marketing Consultant (949) 852-8288 x23

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.