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

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