Bay Area – Land Prices Have Gone Through the Roof!

Since the 2011 trough in land prices, the worst markets in the Bay Area have seen a significant increase in lot prices – an average of about 44%. As the available land in the core markets has dwindled, builders have turned to the tertiary markets that were once off the radar. This trend will likely continue in areas such as the Central Valley and Monterey and Sonoma Counties. Although they may be considered unbuildable zones today, they will see a similar lot appreciation over the next few years as builders move farther out of the core to build.

Lot Price Appreciation for a 5,000 SF lot

Oakley 53.33%
Antioch 53.13%
Pittsburg 51.52%
Martinez 51.11%
Brentwood 48.57%
Livermore 46.67%
Mountain View 46.67%
Sunnyvale 46.43%
Hayward 46.15%
San Jose 45.45%
Fremont 40.00%
Hercules 37.14%
Concord 33.93%
Gilroy 33.33%
Dublin 30.00%

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

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San Diego Housing Market Continues to Rebound

While job growth is the traditional driver of new home demand, the San Diego market recovery has been spurred on by primarily a dwindling of inventory, coupled with a continuation of government sponsored low interest rates. Analysts believe unsold inventory levels will remain relatively low for at least the next 12 to 18 months giving job growth in San Diego County an opportunity to rebound completely over the next few years. The increase in jobs is expected to give “new legs” to the current inventory depleted market rebound – giving us at least a three to five year upcycle.

Like many of the past housing market upcycles, overheated demand for subdivision land in the traditional location hotbeds, such as North Coastal San Diego County, have begun to spill over into communities located further east and inland – where there is a slightly greater number of available properties for sale.

SAN MARCOS SHOWING STRONG GROWTH
Available subdivision land in North San Diego County communities, especially San Marcos, is experiencing a significant increase in demand from builders. While we saw residential subdivision land typically trading for around $200,000 a finished lot in early 2012, we are now seeing in the first quarter of 2013 lots going as high as $285,000 a finished lot.

The finished lot value for residential subdivision land in San Marcos has increased in excess of 40% over the last year!

The City of San Marcos is undergoing significant upgrades with an expanding university town with over 14,000 full time students now at California State University at San Marcos (compared to just 9,722 students in 2011), the recent opening of the new “high technology” public high scool, and the remodel of San Marcos High School. The $180 million remodel project was one of the largest high school construction projects in the State of California and now boasts higher test scores than some of the public high schools located within the prestigious school districts situated along North Coastal San Diego County (south of Oceanside). Planned development of the approximately 1,000-unit University District mixed-use master plan beginning in 2014 (to be located near the CSU Campus and 78 Freeway) and the new linear mixed-use development plans running several blocks east and west (parallel to San Marcos Boulevard and the upscale Discovery Hills single family neighborhoods), will transform much of San Marcos beyond its “poor man’s Carlsbad” traditional reputation.

AREAS TO KEEP AN EYE ON
With the present market momentum continuing its course in the near term and moving towards complete restoration of the residential real estate values lost in San Diego County during the recession, Team San Diego sees the next generation of residential subdivision land opportunities in North San Diego County also migrating up the 15 Freeway (north of Escondido) to communities such as Bonsall (with outstanding schools) and the unincorporated Pala Mesa area (with the widening of Highway 76 / Mission Road – serving as a four lane expressway connecting Interstate 5 with Interstate 15).

Source: Bob McFarland, Marketing Consultant, (858) 568-7428 ext. 12

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

Why is the market so hot?!!!!

It always boils down to the fundamentals — Supply and Demand. We know that the Bay Area is always supply constrained and the real estate collapse took many of the higher density projects and put them in a deep freeze, meaning we had even fewer new projects adding to the supply from 2008 ’til today. Now we have a new phenomenon, for all the people that got foreclosed on and were supposedly going to be renters the rest of their lives, it turns out they still want to buy homes and for the many that got foreclosed early in the cycle their time in the penalty box is over.

http://www.insidebayarea.com/business/ci_21865117/foreclosure-victims-buying-homes-again

And as foreclosures in CA and the Bay Area continue their downward trajectory, people waiting for that ‘distressed’ buying opportunity may never see it materialize.

http://www.foreclosureradar.com/foreclosure-report/foreclosure-report-september-2012

Rather than competing with 10-20 other offers as soon as a ‘bank-owned’ home hits the market, buyers are finding the process of buying a new home to be more appealing as builders ramp up community production.

http://www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/Bay-Area-new-home-construction-rebounds-3986773.php#page-1

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

Sacramento is booming…

As far as residential land goes.

These past few months have been eye opening on the residential land front.  Just when folks were beginning to write the rest of 2012 off as another down and out year like 2011, someone “poked the bear” and got things moving again.  The past few months in Sacramento have been on fire with the builders knocking down the door trying to grab land positions in core markets.  With the finished lot inventories drying up, everything from paper to finished lots have been targets for both public and private builders.  It is reminiscent of the bump we saw in 2009 and 2010, but with the pipeline of finished lots dwindling, REO product drying up and interest rates in the cellar, this party may be just getting started.

Link:

http://www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/print-edition/2012/10/05/home-price-spurt-correction-new-bubble.html

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

Sacramento… Healing Period?

Over the last 6 months, the Sacramento region has posted solid housing numbers to give the new home builders optimism for the future of this area.  Stuck in the mud for the last 2-3 years, the region looks like it is pulling itself off the bottom and headed in a better direction.  Although REO sales are still plentiful compared to 2005, the trends are positive.

The region should see approximately 15,000 REO sales this year, but that is 15% less than 2011 and 30% of peak 2008 numbers (22,131).  New home sales for the region are expected to almost double what they were for 2011, climbing up well over 3,000 new home sales for 2012.  It also important to note that currently in the region, new home sales account for approximately 3.4% of total home sales and that at the peak of the market, new home sales accounted for approximately 26.3% of the overall home sale market.

With this further evidence of a bottoming of the housing market and plenty of room to mature, builders have anticipated the next boom and they are back buying again. Approximately a half dozen deals have been purchased over the last few months with more builder deals currently in escrow.

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

Los Angeles’ Big Idea: the Small Lot Subdivision

Angelenos are faced with many tough questions when deciding to buy a home.  Most will ask…  How bad is the commute to work?  What amenities are close by?  Is the HOA affordable?

According to the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, more than half of a million people commute more than 60 minutes each way to jobs in Los Angeles County every day.  This includes commuters traveling into Los Angeles from Ventura, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.  Many of these commuters work in areas with high job concentrations, including Downtown, Long Beach and West L.A.  For a long time, a large supply of new and affordable single family homes could be found only in the peripheral areas, far from the Los Angeles job centers. 

In 2005, the City of Los Angeles adopted the Small Lot Subdivision Ordinance, which allows for a new style of dense, fee simple homes, closer to the jobs and amenities of the Los Angeles core. 

Land Advisors’ L.A. Basin Urban Infill Team is currently involved in several small lot subdivision projects throughout Los Angeles and sees a tremendous increase in interest from builders, developers and home buyers for the product.  The projects vary in style from Spanish style contemporary to sleek, modern designs.  In addition to the variety of product, many subdivisions are located within 15 minutes of Downtown, Hollywood, Dodger Stadium, Staples Center, job centers and other entertainment venues. 

Echo Park Small Lot Subdivision

A somewhat unnoticed, but extremely beneficial aspect of the small lot subdivision is the lack of a Homeowners Association.  Many HOA fees in Los Angeles exceed $300 per month, while a typical small lot subdivision project has no fee or a maintenance fee under $100 per month.  This is an additional $200+ per month which could translate to more than $40,000 during the course of a 30-year mortgage. 

As the Small Lot Subdivision popularity gains momentum, Land Advisors continues to track newly permitted projects and sales data for active communities.  For more details about the small lot subdivision ordinance, developable sites and how active projects are selling, please contact Land Advisors’ L.A. Basin Urban Infill Team.

Source: Chris Gomez-Ortigoza, Marketing Consultant, (626) 376-9840 ext. 14