California Division: 2012 Year in Review

LAO-CA Infographic 2012 YIR

Source: Tom Reimers, President, (949) 852-8288 x28

2012 Ends with Numerous Year-End Closings in Southwest Riverside County

The year of 2012 ended with the most activity in southwest Riverside since the peak of activity in 2006. In December alone, public homebuilders closed on over 900 lots. The lot condition ranged from finished lots to unimproved mapped lots. One of the year end highlights of 2012 were two tentative map lot projects contained within the Temecula School District boundary with Land Advisors brokering the sales. The two maps combined to generate over 300 lots and were bought by two public homebuilders.

On the apartment front, a notable fully leased apartment complex is in escrow at a rumored sales price of +/- $215,000 per door.  While this per door number might seem low when compared to the coastal market, the comp will represent the highest per door sale since 2008.

The above transactions are a result of a number of factors from low interest rates to lack of housing supply available to both buyers and renters. In 2012, we saw a decrease in foreclosure sales as well as REO sales and higher sales volume all together when compared to 2011. As we move forward in the New Year, home sale prices are forecasted to receive upward pressure because supply is expected to remain flat.

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

WANTED: FRESNO LAND DEVELOPERS

According to Fresno real estate blogger, BoNhai Lee, the City of Fresno says ±16,000 acres of land remain for housing development.  With that being said, Fresno is in need of land developers to entitle and process new tentative tract maps.

Land Advisors Organization’s Fresno office is happy to announce the San Joaquin Valley is (finally!) coming alive in “A” locations.  Builders are complaining there are not enough improved lots to choose from in Clovis and northeast Fresno.

POLL: 

RECENT CLOSINGS (September 2012): 

  • An investor purchased 36 finished lots in Madera (brokered by LAO)
  • A farmer purchased ±37 unimproved acres in Clovis (brokered by LAO)

NEW COMMUNITIES:

HOME SALES: According BoNhia Lee (@bonhialee), new home sales accounted for 5% of the Central Valley residential transactions this year compared to 26% in 2006.

Source: Mark Utman, Marketing Consultant, (559) 549-6326

Fresno & Madera Counties Heating Up

Good news, Madera is on the rebound.  Better news, you can still find improved finished lots below replacement cost….better hurry because prices are expected to increase!  FULL STORY

VACANT FINISHED LOT INVENTORY BY THE NUMBERS

CLOSINGS: August 2012 – Land Advisors closed seven vacant lots within Tract 5351 to a private homebuilder.  The private homebuilder bought the lots to expand its presence in the City of Clovis.

HOME SALES: Existing homes in Fresno are selling fast!  In June, Fresno resales reported a median of 43 days on market compared to a median of 90 days on market at the peak.  This represents a 52.2% decrease in days on market for Fresno.  FULL STORY

FEES: City development fees for Coalinga have been waived until April 2013.  Contact Matt Power at (805) 845-2660 or Mark Utman at (559) 549-6326 for further details.

NEW DEVELOPMENTS: The controversial high speed rail construction along Highway 99 has been delayed until 2014. FULL STORY

Source: Mark Utman, Marketing Consultant, (559) 549-6326

Sacramento: Where’s the Dirt?

The Sacramento region finally appears to be emerging from the homebuilding doldrums.  Over the last several months, homebuilders seem to have a new found confidence as new home absorption levels have begun to tick up to levels not seen for several years.

Pricing on the other hand, is still lagging with maybe a small bump in appreciation.  All of this said, ready-to-build lots are becoming scarce within the Sacramento submarket, and at this rate, some areas could possibly end 2013 with a lot supply of zero.

The key drivers to getting builders back to Sacramento will be continued increased scarcity of deals in the San Francisco Bay Area, in addition to sustained new homes sales that we have seen in the area over the last several months.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the recent rise in homebuilding could be thwarted by an unlikely factor, a shortage of land in desirable locations.  Homebuilders are realizing they cannot focus strictly on the Bay Area locales just due to the fact that high land prices and land scarcity will forbid them from ramping up deliveries and allowing them to grow organically.  If they want to be able to produce new home delivery volume, they will have to start looking in the Sacramento region as well as some parts of the Central Valley.  If and when they move eastward, we will start to see homebuilders look at “paper” lot or entitlement deals, where in the past they were only focused on finished lots.  Time will tell.

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

KB Home Commands Market Share in Antelope Valley

Land Advisors’ Antelope Valley Team is working hard to identify every land opportunity for public and private builders and investors in the High Desert.  The best land deal opportunities are few these days, but the Team currently has three exclusive listings, two of which are now under contract with close dates quickly approaching.

Springtime in the A.V.: Photo of the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

KB Home continues to dominate the Antelope Valley’s new home sales market.  The public homebuilder is leading the charge with eight actively selling projects in the region.  One or two private homebuilders are trying to break into the action, but are reporting slow sales according to Hanley Wood.

Investors are keeping their eyes open for the “right” land deal opportunities in the High Desert submarket.  Resales are holding steady and not many finished lot opportunities are available.

Source: Michel Faris, Marketing Consultant (949) 852-8288 ext. 14

N. Central Valley Gears Up for Recovery

Land Advisors’ Northern California Team is proud to announce that it recently closed 507 single family lots in finished condition in the northern part of the City of Merced, a project known as Bellevue Ranch West.  The buyer is a long-time local farming family who plans to hold the asset as a long-term investment.

Although little building activity is occurring in Merced County at the moment, K. Hovnanian Homes is currently open and selling homes in one project.  The project, known as Eagles Ridge, is an active adult community in the Santa Nella market.

Despite the fact that Merced County new home closings are projected to hit a post-crash low volume in 2012 (off 98.9% from peak new home closing volume), year-to-date home prices are starting to rebound for regular re-sale and REO transactions with each up 2.47% and 1.96% respectively from their troughs. In addition, foreclosure sales (borrower-to-lender) are down 75.13% year-to-date from the 2008 peak.  REO (bank-to-new-buyer) sales are down 71.38% from their peak in 2009.  Our interpretation is this represents a positive sign that the overall Merced County housing market is healing – slowly but surely. (Source: Housing Intelligence Pro by Hanley Wood)

BIG LISTING: As part of a recent major lender-owned land listing for the California Division of the Land Advisors Organization, the Land Advisors Northern California Team covering the North Central Valley is actively looking for buyers for six assets in the bank’s portfolio.  Collectively, the listed assets include 479 single family homes in varying stages of development.  These asset sales represent the last few remaining bank-owned deals in the North Central Valley.  They should attract multiple investors and likely a few builders as the chance to buy lots well below replacement cost dwindle statewide.

Asset Breakdown:

  • Atwater:  Stonecreek – 129 Single Family Detached Lots in Finished Condition;
  • Winton:  Winfield Station – 22 Single Family Detached Lots in Finished Condition;
  • Modesto:  Thomas Terrace – 9 Single Family Detached Lots in Finished Condition;
  • Ceres:  Bing Cherry Estates – 39 Single Family Detached Lots in Finished Condition;
  • Merced:  Amberly Court – 162 Single Family Detached Lots in Rough Graded Condition (on 15.93 acres); and
  • Sage Creek – 118 Single Family Detached Lots in Rough Graded Condition (on 13.55 acres).

Other North Central Valley Updates:  San Joaquin County is experiencing improved new home sales in the towns of Mountain House, Manteca, and Lathrop.  New home projects are getting started in Stanislaus County, with two in Oakdale and one in Patterson.

Slow and steady as they are… all signs of building activity in the North Central Valley show that we are on our way to recovery!

Source: R.J. Radler Senior Marketing Consultant, (916) 784-3329 ext. 12; and Jim Radler Senior Marketing Consultant, (916) 784-3329 ext. 11

 

West Riverside County: 2012 Transaction Characteristics

Market Observations:  So far in 2012, the West Riverside land market is seeing a limited number of finished lot transactions.  The bulk of the land buyer activity is directed at unimproved land, where buyers plan to add value through the entitlement process.

2010/2011 saw a number of sales driven by bank owned REO with a typical escrow calling for a 30-day due diligence period and a 15-day close. The market has absorbed the bank REO projects and land values have remained relatively flat since Q3 of 2010. This dynamic has forced buyers to get more creative when submitting offers in an effort to minimize risk. A number of transactions in 2012 have included the seller carrying back paper on the property for 3-5 years. Since land values have remained flat, seller carry-back works because it generates a higher land value, versus the all-cash deal, and also creates a positive cash flow for the seller from the note interest.

Single Family Detached Market Updates: Homebuilders are continuing to see new home sales success in Temecula and French Valley. Average monthly sales have increased along with sales price. These are all great signs that point to the beginning of a true recovery.

A public homebuilder has closed on an unimproved parcel in Temecula that it intends to develop and build out new homes.  Along the I-15 corridor, a private homebuilder has put some finished lots under contract, and is scheduled to close in 60 days.

Attached Market Updates:  Land Advisors West Riverside Team just announced its latest listing: “Temecula Foothills” – 7 acres in Temecula for a proposed high density residential project (potential for ±140 multi-family for-rent or for-sale units).

Three entitlement escrows are presently in the works in Temecula.  Optimism surrounding the for-rent market continues to circulate in West Riverside Market, specifically Corona and Temecula.

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

Central Valley: So Yer Sayin’ There’s A Chance…

Mixed signals are making it quite difficult to predict where the Kern County residential real estate market is headed in the months to come.  Recent headlines from The Bakersfield Californian include:

Then on the flip-side, there’s “Region leads nation in construction job growth.” Hmmm…

New home sales continue to make up a small part of total sales throughout Kern County and beyond at roughly 6%, according to Hanley Wood.  However, it is clear that well located projects with excess finished lot inventory are now appealing to both local and national builders up and down the 99 Corridor (CA SR 99).

The main issue at hand still remains… Although new home sales appear to be picking up, foreclosures and REO’s still make up over 50% of sales, and in many cases, homes are selling for just over $100/Sq. Ft. (Hanley Wood). Many “broken” projects were purchased by investors during the downturn, yet residential lots are still trading at or below replacement cost.

As a consequence, some investors are forced to sell their investments at a loss, or wait until home prices raise so residual lot values eventually increase.

As with every storm, there is a silver lining.  Construction jobs in Bakersfield have recently increased dramatically.  The Bakersfield Metro area added a higher percentage of new construction jobs over the past year than any other market in the United States according to an Arlington, VA trade group. Federal funding from the Thomas Roads Improvement Program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, along with various Health Care industry expansions and upgrade projects are the main contributors to this growth.

In addition, according to Richard Chapman of the Kern County Economic Development Corp., local growth in the manufacturing, warehouse, and distribution sectors has also spurred along recent construction.  Growth and improvement in these areas are so critical as Bakersfield continues its quest to becoming a more dynamic and diverse economy.

Hanley Wood recently ranked Fresno County (#4) and Kern County (#6) in its list of Top Ten California Counties with the highest new home sale projections for 2012.  Land Advisors is asking, “Is this a sustainable positive upward move or just another head-fake?

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

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

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

D.R. Horton snaps up 74 “Finished” Lots in Inland Empire

Land Advisors Organization – California Division is pleased to announce the closing of “Walnut III,” a ±20-acre residential subdivision located at the northeast corner of Cypress and Walnut, in the City of Fontana, County of San Bernardino.  YH Walnut, LLC sold the 74 single family lots to D.R. Horton (NYSE: DHI) for an undisclosed amount.

Land Advisors’ San Bernardino Team, which is based out of the firm’s Irvine office, represented the buyer and the seller in the transaction. 

Walnut III is located just south of the 210 Freeway, west of Sierra Avenue.  The lots are 7,200 minimum square feet, and were sold in fully improved condition with an approved final map.

“The Walnut III lots were the only finished lots available in Fontana,” remarked Land Advisors Senior Marketing Consultant, Winn Galloway. “The purchase will afford D.R. Horton the opportunity to commence vertical construction immediately and add coveted 2012 home deliveries to their business plan.” 

For more information about Land Advisors’ San Bernardino Team, contact Doug Jorritsma at (949) 852-8288 ext. 13/ djorritsma@landadvisors.com, and Winn Galloway (949) 852-8288 ext. 27/wgalloway@landadvisors.com.

High Desert Team Finds Buyer for Former Frontier Homes High Desert Portfolio

The Land Advisors’ High Desert Team recently closed a multi-million dollar sale on a five-subdivision portfolio in the High Desert. Collectively, the five land assets consist of 364 residential lots in varying stages of development. A private investor (represented by John Reeder of the Mimi Song Company) purchased the portfolio with the intent to hold for the long term. Land Advisors represented the portfolio’s seller (a lender), in the transaction. 

The details of the five portfolio assets include:

  • “Barcelona Heights II” is located within the City of Hesperia and consists of 91 single family lots with a minimum lot size of 5,801 square feet.  The lots were sold in “partially finished” condition with a recorded final tract map.
  • “Copper Crest” is located within the City of Hesperia and consists of 71 single family lots with a minimum lot size of 6,000 square feet.  The lots were sold in “mostly finished” condition with a recorded final tract map.
  • “Autumn Glen IV & V” is located within the City of Victorville and consists of 66 single family lots with a minimum lot size of 7,000 square feet.  The lots were sold in “mostly finished” condition with a recorded final tract map.
  • “Falcon Point II” is located within the City of Lancaster and consists of 131 single family lots with a minimum lot size of 7,000 square feet.  The lots were sold in unimproved condition with an approved tentative tract map.
  • “Adelanto-5” is located within the City of Adelanto and consists of 5 single family lots with a minimum lot size of 7,000 square feet.  The lots were sold in “mostly finished” condition with a recorded final tract map.

“This was a challenging transaction due to the nature of five different subdivisions (and two counties) involved in the sale,” noted Land Advisors’ Senior Marketing Consultant Randy Coe, who has been selling residential land in the High Desert for about 10 years. “However, this was the largest remaining Bank REO finished lot opportunity in the submarket, and offered a significant value for the buyer of the portfolio,” he said.

In a separate transaction, the High Desert Team also recently led the closing of “Tuscany III” in Victorville.  The transaction consisted of 142 unimproved single family lots with an approved tentative tract map.  A private investor purchased the subject lots from Mojave & Onyx LLC for, with the intent of holding the project until the housing market returns.

Read the Complete Press Release Here

Coachella Valley: 1, 2, 3… Cha Cha Cha…

Some impressive numbers are driving growth within the Coachella Valley. 10,000… 300,000… and 3,600,000… According to the Social Security Administration, these are the numbers of Baby Boomers who are turning 65 years old each day, each month and each year, respectively, for the next 19 years! 

Ranked by CNN Money.com as the second Best Retirement Destination in the United States, Palm Springs (and the rest of the Coachella Valley) is experiencing growth and demand today not seen in many other markets across the US.

From a land investment perspective, demand and activity within the Coachella Valley and Imperial Valley is decidedly picking up.

  • Toll Brothers is demonstrating that selling new homes in the Coachella Valley for $740,000 IS possible.  The Nation’s top luxury homebuilder sold FIVE homes in its first month of sales at their new Alta project in Palm Springs.
  • With the majority of the finished lot opportunities spoken for within the Valley, interest in entitled but undeveloped land is picking up.
  • D.R. Horton is having success finding qualified home buyers for Renaissance at the Gallery in Palm Desert.  With homes ranging from $269,990 to $355,000 the community is at about 50% build-out and is seeing increased interest from potential buyers. 
  • In 2011 the volume of resale home transactions within the Coachella Valley was 96% of the 2004 market peak (7,275 vs. 7,574). Conversely, 2011 new home building permits are at the lowest levels since before 1983 according to Marketwatch, LLC.

CLOSED DEAL IN IMPERIAL CO.!  The Coachella/Imperial Team (Stone James & David Landes) represented the buyer (investor) and the seller (lender) in the sale of 222 acres of prime farmland located within Brawley city limits.  This Imperial County buy-and-hold asset has an approved Specific Plan for 1,149 residential units.  Contact Stone or David for more details on the deal.

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

No Splash in the Antelope Valley

The cool winter winds continue to blow through the Antelope Valley residential land submarket as January moves into February.  Homebuilders and investors alike are taking a cautious approach towards the land buying pool and are hesitant to jump in.

Finished lot inventory (which includes both finished and partially finished lots) currently stands at approximately 2,500 units in the Antelope Valley.  Palmdale holds approximately 1,600 of the lots and Lancaster has the remaining 900.  95% of these finished lots are controlled by private investors who are looking at two to three year holds on their land investments.  These investors are waiting for home prices to increase and for homebuilders to return to this submarket before they make their next move.

The Land Advisors “High Desert Team” continues to keep the pulse of deals in the Antelope Valley with two current listings and one escrow.

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

Big Moves and Bright Ideas in Northern Central Valley

Amazon.com makes a move (to CA): Even the cynics out there are saying that NOW is the time to buy a home.  With interest rates and home values at an all time low, it is certainly a buyer’s market these days.  The problem is remains however, that limited numbers of potential buyers have enough equity ready to put into buying a new home.  The unemployment rate in California and nationwide is still painfully high and we are all waiting for job creation to help boost the economy and the homebuilding industry. 

Good news for California:  Amazon.com made a promise last year to bring 10,000 new jobs to California, and now, according to SacBee.com, the online sales giant is apparently ready to make good on that pledge, starting in western Stanislaus County.  Amazon is expected to announce soon it will build a 1,500-employee distribution center off I-5 in Patterson, west of Modesto.

Patterson profile:

  • Although Patterson has experienced few to no home sales in last two years, the city has shown to be a viable submarket for home sales. From 2002 to 2009 just short of 3,000 new homes sold in this area.
  • Fewer than 200 “finished” lots remain within the City of Patterson.
  • 1,500 new Amazon jobs will dramatically reduce current 18.4% unemployment rate.

New Vision for Merced: At the Merced City Council meeting this month, the public weighed in on the Merced Vision 2030 General Plan, which City officials hope will turn Merced into a dynamic urban entity by 2030.

The concerns at the meeting varied… UC Merced officials were elated with the inclusion of the campus and the University Community housing project in the “Vision.”  On the other hand, some city residents were concerned about the population projections and the potential impacts on agricultural land.

The City Council approved the plan by a 6-1 vote.  Castle Farms, a proposed mixed-use development at Highway 59 and Bellevue Road, and Mission Lakes, a community plan bounded by Mission Avenue to the north, agricultural land to the south and Highway 59 to east, were both left out of the plan because some of the City Council members believe the footprint of the plan is too big.

Bright Idea on Campus: They say college is the time to “find yourself.”  Well the students of the newly-opened University of California, Merced are taking that idea to the next level, and are finding themselves in some pretty nice homes.  Many students are ditching the traditional, crammed on-campus dorms for a more spacious and luxurious option: the vacant foreclosed “McMansions” left behind by the housing boom.

Nearly 5,200 students attend UC Merced, but the university has only enough campus housing for about a third of its population.  The Merced community is hearing mixed reactions from the students who are renting the 5+ bedroom homes and using them in an unconventional way, but overall the sentiment is currently positive.  Neighbors are happy to not have homes left vacant on their street, and the current title holders are happy to be collecting some kind of income from the properties.

Source: RJ Radler, Senior Marketing Consultant, (916) 784-3329 ext. 12

D.R. Horton Hears a Who

While many of the public homebuilders are sitting on the land-buying sidelines this quarter, D.R. Horton hears the call to purchase more land!

Land is scarce in the fictional city of “Whoville” so the D.R. Horton team has taken to several cities in the Inland Empire, and recently closed on transactions in both Eastvale and Chino. 

The Eastvale site consisted of 173 entitled lots just west of the I-15 Freeway. 

Following the mantra of the 1954 book with a similar name, “a deal is a deal no matter how small,” D.R. Horton closed on 43 finished lots in the College Park master planned community. 

In addition, in the first quarter of 2011 Land Advisors assisted D.R. Horton in the acquisition of 53 lots adjacent to California State University – San Bernardino.

2011 TEAM “SB” YEAR IN REVIEW: 

Despite a sluggish market, the San Bernardino Team (Doug Jorritsma & Winn Galloway) participated in several transactions totaling more than $84 million in 2011.  The majority (57%) of transactions was conventional sales; REO’s only accounted for approximately 36% of all transactions.  The Team anticipates the number of REO’s to decline moving into 2012, as many troubled assets have already worked their way through the market. 

On the Buyer side, private investors lead the way totaling 36% of all San Bernardino Team transactions in 2011.  Of the last five transactions, four were purchased by private investors looking for unimproved land for long term hold.   

Echoing the sentiments of the mayor of “Whoville,” “We are here” at Land Advisors to help you with your land needs in 2012.  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Source: Doug Jorritsma, Senior Marketing Consultant, (949) 852-8288 x13 and Winn Galloway, Senior Marketing Consultant, (949) 852-8288 x27

Winds of Opportunity Skipping over the Antelope Valley

Private investors are taking a cautious approach to buying land in the Antelope Valley.  Home sales are still slow and homebuilders are scarce. 

KB Home is still the most aggressive buyer of finished lot opportunities in Lancaster and Palmdale.  The public homebuilder has captured the Antelope Valley sub-market to the detriment of other public homebuilders. 

The Antelope Valley is the most affordable area of Los Angeles County, and KB Home is taking advantage of record low land values by scooping up several finished or semi-finished land deals.  The homebuilder has always believed in the profit potential of this sub-market and is now reaping the rewards of beating out the competition in land acquisition.

The Land Advisors High Desert Team (Michel Faris & Randy Coe) recently facilitated the closing of two transactions where KB Home purchased semi-finished residential lots in Lancaster.

The homebuilder completed its assemblage with the purchase of additional semi-finished lots within The Reserve for a total ownership of 37 lots.

KB Home also purchased 18 additional single family lots in semi-finished condition in the Sandstarr West community located on the southeast corner of Avenue K-8 and 27th Street West.

Other High Desert investors are waiting for home sales to pick up in the windy Antelope Valley, in addition to the emergence of more finished lot opportunities.  Until the sub-market begins to see signs of a broader economic rebound and improved home sales, performance is going to continue to blow right by.

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

W. Riverside County: Busier Than You Think

Amid slow overall residential land sales activity in West Riverside County, a number of transactions are still moving forward, and are nearing the finish line.

West Riverside County has experienced few improved lot transactions in 2011, as the submarket hasn’t seen any “turned dirt” since 2009.  A public homebuilder recently closed on approximately 90 “finished” lots in French Valley.  Also, two escrows for “finished” lots are scheduled to close by year’s end:

  • A public homebuilder is buying a ±50-lot project located within the City of Wildomar.
  • A private investor is buying a +100-lot project located in Moreno Valley.

In regards to the apartment/for-rent land market:

  • A ±600-unit site is close to going under contract in Temecula, marking another significantly-sized apartment land escrow in this city in the last six months.
  • Corona still has two large apartment land projects on the market.  It doesn’t appear that buyers are stepping up to the seller’s pricing expectations though.  This may be due to sellers’ knack for overestimating rent appreciation in the coming years.

The Land Advisors’ West Riverside Team put two projects into escrow this month that are in the Menifee area.

Source: Mitch Casillas, Marketing Consultant, (949) 852-8288 x23

Lights… Flashing… Several High Profile Sites Trade Hands in SD County

The San Diego residential land market continues to plod along.  Most offerings are receiving strong interest as the building and development community looks for future inventory.  The general consensus is that the key indicators show stronger markets in the near future and everyone is filling their near-term pipeline (2012-2015).  Land Advisors recently completed the marketing campaign for The Lakes, a 248-lot project in the Rancho Santa Fe area.  The offering received strong interest from around the Nation.

Other notes from around the region…

  1. Meritage Homes made its first entry into the San Diego market with a purchase of 92 semi-finished lots in Oceanside, CA.  The property known as Hi Hope Ranch has a controversial past including lawsuits with the adjoining neighbor, Vista Unified School District, and a bankruptcy.  The property has been on the market for over a year and had been under contract with several builders.  The purchase price was reported to be just over $10 million.
  2. Another high profile Oceanside property also closed escrow.  MG Properties purchased Ocean Village, a “broken” condominium project near the Oceanside City Hall.  According to reports, none of the 33 units in the project were sold and the new owners will be leasing them out as apartments until the market firms.  The purchase price was $11.75 million which should allow the new owners ample room for profits, according to sources familiar with the project.
  3. Proving that you never know where the buyer will come from, a high profile 18-acre infill site in Mission Valley known as West End was purchased at a foreclosure auction last week.  The Buyer, Plaza del Sol Real Estate Trust is believed to be a church group looking for a new campus.  The site had been planned for 490 multi-family units but the project was never approved or developed due to the weak market in 2007-2010.  It is currently occupied by Mission Valley Inn and Frogs Gym.
  4. HOUSING:  According to the experts, foreclosures and defaults were down in September.  Hopefully this signals the start of an orderly process of unwinding the remaining problem properties still in the system, and tempers the uncertainty of prospective buyers:  www.nctimes.com/blogsnew/business/realside/article_fd80ea2f-890c-56bb-8231-d5d4231b30fa.html
  5. Look for new multi-family listings from the San Diego office of Land Advisors Organization in the next few weeks.
  6. Redevelopment of an eyesore in Solana Beach is in the works after American Assets bought a former trailer park on Coast Highway.  The 1.76-acre site at 329 S. Coast Highway finally traded hands at 63% of the original listing price after being on the market for several months.  The Buyer plans to redevelop the site for commercial/residential use.

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

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.

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

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