Land Prices Are Not the Only Thing Rising….

Ever heard of someone saying “when things are on a roll…enjoy it while it lasts, ‘cause it never does.” Well, I guess you could apply the same logic to interest rates.

Looking at how the tear land values have been in the last 12 months, it seems things are starting to cool off and the industry is taking a collective breath.  When the Federal Reserve Chairman speaks and hints at future actions regarding interest rates, the market is clearly listening.  In case anyone missed it, interest rates have risen for the better part of 100 basis points since May causing new home sales to slow and robbing buyers of purchase power, which illustrates that the housing recovery is still fragile and changes need to be addressed delicately as we move forward.  That being said, I think home buyers are realizing that low-interest rates will not last forever and they should engage while they can.

Link: http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2013/07/16/rising-mortgage-rates-home-builders-shrug-them-off/

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

Indian Summer Stokes North San Diego County Coastal Market Activity

With the mid-year 2012 turning of the corner in the housing market in San Diego County, demand for housing and residential land along the North County Coastal region has heated up quickly.  Among the 15 actively-selling developments featuring new single family detached housing, the rate of absorption is approaching an average of three sales per month per development.  Most of these developments offer lots averaging between 4,000 and 6,000 square feet with approximately a third of them featuring quarter-acre lots.  New home prices range from the high $500,000’s to $1,350,000, for unit sizes spanning from approximately 2,000 to 4,650 square feet.  Seller incentives are falling and are typically in the one to three percent range.  At the same time, new home prices have begun to rise and average approximately 1.2% higher per development than a year ago at this time. In early September 2012, there were approximately 90 remaining new single family detached homes available for sale along the north coast. This is equivalent to about two months of supply given the current pace of absorption among the actively-selling developments.

Consequently, this robust recovery in the new homes market has elevated subdivision land prices.  Land Advisors Organization has seen recent subdivision land sales in the North County Coastal regions capturing prices equivalent to finished lot values spanning from approximately $425,000 for 6,000 square foot lots, up to $620,000 for quarter acre lots.  Taking advantage of this market momentum Land Advisors Organization’s San Diego Team are currently marketing two outstanding coastal properties for sale: Quail Meadows – an approved tentative tract map for 33 quarter acre lots in Encinitas and Meadowlark Canyon another 33 lots averaging over 5,000 square feet each.  The Meadowlark Canyon site is located in San Marcos, near that cities’ border with neighboring Carlsbad.  Team San Diego will also soon be marketing an ocean close property in North Coastal San Diego in concert with Land Advisors Organization’s outstanding Orange County Team. Details regarding this trophy property will be released in early October 2012.

For more information, please contact Bob McFarland or David Landes at (858) 568-7428.

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

Play Ball in Western Riverside County!

You win some…

The second quarter of 2012 is in the books in West Riverside County and public home builder sentiment is high nationally and locally. Our hopes are that the positive sales pace continues through the second half of the year which should lead to the first inning in what we hope is a long overdue, extra-inning recovery. In addition to that, according to Hanley Wood data for the second quarter, 10 of 13 active new home markets in West Riverside County experienced an increase in new home sale pricing. That’s the good news.

You lose some…

The bad news is that 2012 has yielded few land transactions to discuss because land bank REO properties have been purged from the market (currently LAO has listed one of the few remaining portfolios of bank REO assets, contact if interested) and land values are generally not yet at a level where the 2008-2010 investors would sell. If the market continues to improve however, 2013 should see a number of sales from the investor community to home builders.

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

Inland Empire… It’s FBO!

Economic news in Southern California’s Inland Empire appears to be looking up these days.  But is the homebuilding recovery here to stay?  Is it Facebook Official?

Last week, Land Advisors’ Senior Marketing Consultant Doug Jorritsma gave a presentation to a group of professionals regarding the state of the land/homebuilding market in the Inland Empire (Western San Bernardino & Riverside Counties).  On board with the wave of social media sweeping our communication style these days, Doug kept the message short, sweet, and direct, highlighting the market facts with a Facebook-like thumbs up or thumbs down.  Check ‘em out here…

DISLIKE

  • Unemployment/job generation still a big problem
  • State financial crisis looms large (Redevelopment Agencies and Schools)
  • Construction lending still challenging
  • Number of housing permits is currently 28% of what is was at the market’s peak

LIKE!

  • The worst is behind us!
  • Lenders dispositions are done! (Except for the little stuff.)
  • Most public and private homebuilders will be increasingly active going forward
  • Single and multi-family building permits are on the rise – (Currently DOUBLE 2009 numbers)
  • Institutional capital and private equity slowly giving THUMBS UP
  • No finished lot supply creates a near-term shortage
  • Land values are slowly trending up
  • Foreclosure activity is trending down
  • Five-month upward trend of improving new home sales
  • Big box industrial gets a double THUMBS UP
  • Interest rates are to remain low through 2014
  • Consumer confidence is improving which means retail sales are improving
  • Apartment vacancies currently at 4% – 6%, rents are up 1% – 5%

Land Advisors ♥’s Social Media

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

The Flipping Indicator – New Projects Vs. Flipped Homes

The previous Landed blog posted by Land Advisors’ Los Angeles Urban Infill Team highlighted the value increases placed on flipped homes throughout a variety of Los Angeles neighborhoods.  (Re-read: Flipping Over L.A.: Out With the Old, In With the New)

For this post, we take our analysis a step further and compare how values of flipped single family detached homes correlate with those of newly constructed small lot detached and townhome units.  Conveniently, two public homebuilders have opened up projects in Northeast Los Angeles within the past week:

  • The first is Pulte Home’s project in Eagle Rock called Mosaic.  The project consists of 18 Small Lot Detached Units.
  • The second is D.R. Horton’s project in Echo Park called 36 on Echo.  The project consists of 36 Townhome units.

The first chart below represents average sales prices for flips that occurred in Eagle Rock and Echo Park.

This second chart below illustrates the asking prices at both new projects.

In comparing the two charts, note that the average square feet of the flips in each neighborhood is between the smallest and largest unit size at each new project.  You can see that the average flip pricing on a price/sq. ft. basis in each neighborhood lands squarely within the expected price/sq. ft. revenues at each project.  On a nominal pricing basis, the project in Echo Park exceeds the average flip values in the neighborhood, while the project in Eagle Rock is in the same range as the flipped homes in the area.

Why is this significant?  In our experience, properly projecting revenues on infill projects is a difficult task and has chased away a fair share of possible builders and developers.  By utilizing the correct data and local market indicators, the Urban Infill Team has created a system that helps instill a sense of comfort on project pricing for planned infill developments.

Land Advisors’ Urban Infill Team was involved in the acquisition of both of the above referenced projects, and our projected pricing was very similar to the values illustrated above.  If you are interested in discussing valuation, acquisitions or dispositions in the Urban Los Angeles market please contact…

Source:  Chris Gomez-Ortigoza, Marketing Consultant, (626) 376-9840 ext. 14; Richard Byrd, Senior Marketing Consultant, (626) 376-9840 ext. 13; and Tim Barden, Marketing Consultant, (949) 852-8288 ext. 30

Around the Bend in the Bay Area

It feels as though we’ve turned a huge corner in the Bay Area real estate market.

Silicon Valley is producing jobs again at a solid pace (many are anticipating stock option millionaires boosting demand), and the commercial market is rebounding as office space has been absorbed and demand for new space is driving new construction.

Vacancy rates, rent increases and CAP rates for apartments are all at all time highs, spurring tons of new apartment development.

While all these data points are great signs for the recovery, they come with one potential downside—increased construction costs. While we haven’t seen it dramatically impact land values yet, a demand for labor and materials increases, construction costs appear to be headed up for the first time in many years. This could act as a bit of an inhibitor in any large run up in land prices.

Source: Steve Reilly, Marketing Consultant, (925) 791-2194

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

Window of Opportunity in Ventura County

Land Advisors’ Ventura County Team (comprised of Michel Faris, Randy Coe, and Richard Byrd) are pleased to offer an exciting new listing in the Ventura County submarket. The new ±8-acre listing, known as Northbank Meadows is a rare multi-family development opportunity in the highly desirable yet extremely supply constrained City of Ventura.

Historically, homes within Ventura County are highly sought after by homebuyers because of the County’s easy-going, high-quality beach lifestyle, in addition to its proximity to L.A. County job centers. Longstanding development constraints have kept Ventura County from over-development.  Amid the slow growth, land values in the submarkets are holding steady and homebuilders and developers are taking another glance at opportunities in the area as the macroeconomic environment improves.

County Home Sales Up; Median Price Falls via VCStar.comVentura County home sales increased slightly last month, while median prices continued to drop despite record-low mortgage rates… DataQuick reported that 561 homes sold in Ventura County in January — an increase of 2% compared with the same time last year. The sales include new homes and resold single-family homes and condos.  DataQuick also reported the median price of homes in Ventura County at $322,500, a 7.9% decrease compared with the same time last year. Read more

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

Investors Prepare for Future Growth in Inland Empire’s “Ag Preserve”

Senior Marketing Consultants Doug Jorritsma and Winn Galloway (or “Team SB,” as they are affectionately known in the halls of Land Advisors’ Irvine office), are witnessing a rush of investors to the “Ag Preserve” area of the Inland Empire.  The Team has closed four significant land transactions recently within the New Model Colony master plan as investors position themselves for future growth in Inland Empire land values. 

The four deals collectively consist of over 140 acres of unimproved land zoned for residential use. Each of the subject transactions was purchased by private investors from lenders looking to unload distressed assets.  The properties’ buyers plan to hold the land for up to five to seven years, depending on the rate of market recovery.

The South Ontario/New Model Colony is considered to be an “A” location within the Inland Empire. Ideally located near where the Counties of Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino intersect, this submarket offers remarkable accessibility to major Southern California employment centers and new home development potential. 

Doug Jorritsma, an Inland Empire land specialist with Land Advisors since 1999, has extensive experience selling land and residential lots within the Ag Preserve, which includes Ontario, Eastvale, Chino, and Norco.  He has sold over 6,000 lots for consideration in excess of $375 million in this submarket alone.

“As the market recovers, the New Model Colony will see increasing interest from homebuilders,” remarked Jorritsma.  “While homebuilder activity has been nearly nonexistent in the New Model Colony, the area is well positioned to see tremendous growth and future development opportunities.”

Winn Galloway, who is also an expert on land activity in the Ag Preserve and surrounding areas stated: “Land values are holding steady which is currently attractive to investors.  In comparison with 2005 land values, investors are able to purchase residential lots at incredible discounts offering an excellent opportunity for patient money to get big returns.”

In 2010/2011, Jorritsma and Galloway together closed 28 land transactions, which consisted of over 7,000 residential lots throughout the northwest Inland Empire for consideration in excess of $192 million.

New Model Colony Master Plan: The New Model Colony encompasses 8,200 gross acres and will allow for the development of 31,188 residential units on 5,196 acres.  It is bound by Riverside Drive to the north, Milliken Avenue and Hamner Avenue to the east, the Riverside County line and Merrill Avenue to the south, and Euclid Avenue to the west.

Source: Doug Jorritsma, Senior Marketing Consultant (949) 852-8288 ext. 13, and Winn Galloway, Senior Marketing Consultant, (949) 852-8288 ext. 27