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

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Surf & Sales Up in Ventura County

In the last week of March 2012, the California Division of Land Advisors Organization closed the final portion of “The Bungalows at Beach House,” located in Port Hueneme, Ventura County.  The Ventura County Team (Richard Byrd, Randy Coe and Michel Faris) represented the buyer and the seller in the sale of 29 “near finished” lots in the former John Laing Homes community.

The Bungalows at Beach House originally consisted of 64 lots of which 35 have already been built and sold. The 29 subject 4,000 – 5,000 square foot lots sold to Standard Pacific Homes; the seller was a court appointed receiver.

The Port Hueneme deal was a significant transaction in a wave of SEVEN land transactions that the California Division closed in the last week of the first quarter.  The number of transactions rushing to the finish line at the end of the first quarter may signal a broad-based upturn in the California land market, and the diverse characteristics and widespread geographic reach are exemplary of the California Division’s extensive residential land expertise.

“Improved lots are extremely scarce in many markets throughout California,” said Tom Reimers, the California Division’s President.  “The relative success of the spring selling season has caused homebuilders’ supply of buildable lots to dwindle, and is pushing the builders back into the land market for replacement lots.”

VCStar.com reported: In Ventura County, 820 single-family homes and condos were sold in March, compared with 757 in March 2011, an increase of 8.3 percent. In February this year, 606 homes were sold. In January, 561 homes were sold.  The median price for a home sold in Ventura County in March was $350,000, compared with $349,000 in March 2011. READ MORE

Source: Richard Byrd, Senior Marketing Consultant (626) 376-9840 ext. 13; and Michel Faris, Marketing Consultant (949) 852-8288 ext. 14.

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

LAO Strengthens San Diego Coverage with addition of Residential Land Development Expert

Land Advisors Organization, the Nation’s largest residential land brokerage and advisory firm, has hired Robert S. McFarland, M.I.R.M. as a Marketing Consultant, adding to its unique depth of residential land industry experts.

Bob McFarland

Mr. McFarland is teaming up with Land Advisors’ Marketing Consultant David Landes, specializing in residential land sales in the San Diego County submarket.

“I am thrilled with the opportunity to join Land Advisors,” commented Mr. McFarland. “The firm is the best in the business, and offers land sellers and land buyers the most thorough market insight and knowledge.”

With over 30 years of experience evaluating real estate development as an appraiser, homebuilder marketing executive, and consultant, Mr. McFarland is an expert real estate development consultant.

Mr. McFarland is a long-time resident of San Diego County and will work out of the firm’s San Diego office. Mr. McFarland can be reached at (760) 207-6871, and at bmcfarland@landadvisors.com.

Click here to see full press release

Central Coast: Full Sails Again for Santa Barbara Realtors

Spring flowers are blooming, the Pacific Ocean breeze is blowing, and South Santa Barbara home sales activity is picking up!  Central Coast resale agents are finding themselves busy again.  Traffic, escrows, listings and pricing in certain areas are all up, kicking the Central Coast’s spring selling season into gear.

The Beautiful Santa Barbara Real Estate Blog reported… Santa Barbara Real Estate through the end of March ‘12 for Montecito, Hope Ranch, Santa Barbara, Goleta, Carpinteria and Summerland:  Comparing the first 3 months of 2011 with the same period in 2012, sales are up about 35% with escrows up over 50% and the median sales price is up bit while the average sales prices is down a bit. Year-over-year the Sales Price to Original Price ratio is within 2% of where it was last year and the Days on the Market for sold properties is within 12 days of where it was in 2011.

An example of the Central Coast’s uplifting sales activity is City Ventures’ East Beach Collection in Santa Barbara.  The 48-unit attached townhome project is seeing impressive sales, with only 5 more to go before completion.  The project has sold 15 homes in 2012 (5 per month!).  The City Ventures marketing team attributes the strong homebuyer interest to the project’s unique location, quality product and the limited supply of new product currently available in the marketplace.  The East Beach Collection is four blocks from Santa Barbara’s famous State Street and four blocks to the ocean.  With no amenities and surrounded mostly by office buildings, the project is in the new hip, up-and-coming area (also referred to as the “funk zone”).

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

Orange County Spring Report

CLOSED DEAL IN OC!  Mike Hunter, Winn Galloway and Allison Rawlins represented the buyer and the seller in the sale of 3 model homes & 88 partially-improved detached condominium lots at a former John Laing community in La Habra called “Brio.”  TRI Pointe Homes, LLC purchased the Brio property from a lender.  The City of La Habra issued this Press Release regarding the sale.

The County of Orange is soliciting qualified bids for a 100-acre site located in Irvine near the Great Park.  Developers would likely lease the site from the County and look to entitle for a variety of uses, including apartment, hotel, retail and office – Wild Rivers is rumored to be moving from the Irvine Spectrum area to this new location along the 5 Freeway :: http://www.ocbj.com/news/2012/mar/31/county-seeks-developers-100-open-acres-irvine/

The New Home Company will be debuting its new Lambert Ranch neighborhood, also located in the City of Irvine, which boasts spectacular views, no Mello Roos, a variety of parks and a ranch house recreational center, all within a gated community.  The grand opening of the 9 model homes is scheduled for Saturday, April 28th.

In multi-family news, the recent Casden Forecast projected that rents in Orange County will rise 5% by 2013 :: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/usc-casden-multifamily-forecast-rents-170000542.html

Source: Allison Rawlins, Marketing Consultant, (949) 852-8288 ext. 26

They’re Not Just Buying Cars (In San Bernardino Co.)

Chrysler Group, LLC posted increased sales of 34% in March, its biggest increase since 2008.  The private sector continued a 25-month job growth streak, adding 120,000 jobs.  Across the nation, foreclosures had the lowest quarterly total since the final quarter of 2007.

This frankly, is the kind of news that we’ve all been waiting… and hoping… and waiting, to hear.  But in our industry, home sales are all that matter.  So the question is: Do increased car sales, steady job growth and decreased foreclosures translate to the housing market?  We believe they do and want to highlight some of the recent activity in the land markets that “Team San Bernardino” covers.

  1. In Eastvale, Pulte Homes (NYSE: PHM) has sold 35 homes since January 1st (yes… 35. It’s not a typo).
  2. In neighboring Mira Loma, Richmond American (NYSE: MDC) is averaging 4 sales per month through the start of the year.
  3. After opening just three weeks ago, Meritage Homes (NYSE: MTH) has sold 5 homes in its Rancho Cucamonga project, Whispering Ranch.
  4. Beazer Homes (NYSE: BZH) is continuing to sell well in its Yucaipa and Upland projects, averaging approximately 4 sales per month in each project.

So Here’s the Trend…

Improved absorptions lead to decreased lot inventory.  Decreased lot inventory leads to dwindling pipelines.  And thus, dwindling pipelines lead to increased land acquisitions!

So stay steadfast brothers and sisters!!  We are nearing the end of the proverbial tunnel.

Source: Winn Galloway, Senior Marketing Consultant and Doug Jorritsma, Senior Marketing Consultant. You can reach them both at (949) 852-8288.