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

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KB Home Changes the Rules in Santa Clarita Valley

“When people are giving directions to their home, they always refer to some unique feature of their house as a landmark,” said Tom DiPrima, Executive Vice President, KB Home Southern California Division, in a recent Santa Clarita Signal article. “Buyers don’t want a cookie-cutter look to every home on the street.”

KB Home recently opened a new home interior design center in Santa Clarita, one of only three in Southern California.  With the opening of the center, the public homebuilder is putting homebuyers in the driver’s seat by offering customization choices that were nearly unheard of in prior market cycles, including lot selection without imposed lot premiums. 

KB Home is currently selling homes from three new communities within the Santa Clarita Valley, making it one of the most active builders in this submarket.  Home prices range from the mid $300,000’s to the high $500,000’s. Other active builders include Pardee Homes, K. Hovnanian Homes, Lennar, Shapell Homes, and D.R. Horton.

The Santa Clarita Valley is a desirable location for Southern California families as it is known as one of the safest communities in the U.S. and offers multiple high ranking schools. 

The majority of the Valley’s future developable lots are currently under the control of only a handful of developers.  Therefore, residential land opportunities are a precious find right now in this favorable submarket.

The Land Advisors team recently secured a new listing in the Santa Clarita Valley.  Stay tuned for more details to come!

Source: Michel Faris, Marketing Consultant, (949) 852-8288 ext. 18

Giddy Up Fresno!

Hold on to your hat… New homebuilders who have lot inventory in the Fresno sub-market are now building again!  Fresno construction starts are UP since the same time last year. 

Major Player: Lennar HomesFresno and Clovis combined saw 219 new construction starts in the last quarter of 2011, (4Q 2010 saw only 161 starts).  Lennar Homes led the way with the most starts of any builder with 43.  Wilson Homes and Bonadelle Neighborhoods came in a distant second and third with 27 and 26 starts, respectively. The most active sub-market in 4Q 2011 was Clovis South with 66 starts (up from 44 starts in 4Q 2010).

Lennar also controls the most lot inventory of any builder in Fresno.  Of the 2,425 total vacant finished lots in the Fresno sub-market, 296 (12%) are owned by the public homebuilder as of January 2012.

Project of NoteBonadelle’s Bella Vista at Brighton is seeing impressive sales in its early phases.  The project’s success is breathing new life into the Millerton area sub-market as the first phase of the Brighton Master Plan.  The area boasts a ton of amenities including its location… a stones’ throw from Millerton Lake & Marina, Eagle Springs Golf & Country Club, and Table Mountain Casino.  With a natural setting and amenity package that is unrivaled in the greater Fresno area, Bonadelle is seeing buyers come out and purchase as a lifestyle choice and value play to living ‘in town.’  The Fresno Office of the Land Advisors Organization can bring you up to speed on this up-and-coming sub-market.

Home PricesThe latest data from Fiserv Case Shiller shows that national home prices are expected to grow at an annualized rate of 3.2% between 2011 and Q2 2016. BusinessInsider.com combed through Fiserv’s data and picked the best housing markets for the next five years…  Madera ranks No. 3 out of 15 on the list with anticipated annualized growth from 2011 – 2016 of +10.4%.

Multi-familyNew high-end apartments finally return to Fresno with an apartment complex called The Shires. The Penstar Group, a real estate development and construction company in Fresno, recently broke ground on the project and is looking to accommodate pent-up demand now that local rent rates have leveled off.

New Office Location! The Land Advisors’ Fresno office has relocated to 759 W. Alluvial Avenue, Suite 103, Fresno, CA 93711.  The new office phone number is: (559) 549-6326.  Stop by and say Hello!

Source: Mark Utman, Marketing Consultant, mobile: (949) 533-8284

Strike a Pose. Condos are Back in Vogue in San Diego County

After seeing a huge boom in urban condominium development in the early to mid-2000’s, followed by a few years of hibernation, several suburban multi-family condominium projects are finally emerging in the marketplace, and several more are planned for actual development.  The combination of affordability and ideal infill locations is putting condominiums back on the radar screen for possible new home buyers.

Nearly every local builder has a current project in the works, either attached or detached product types.

  • Carlsbad is a hotspot for new home projects.  Shea Homes, Taylor Morrison, CityVentures and Brookfield Homes all have new communities breaking ground in the coming months, and D.R. Horton (53 Melrose), KB Home (Avellino) and Brookfield (Sago at the Foothills) are building out existing projects in this city.
  • San Marcos is also seeing an uptick of activity.  Colrich is starting to market their new project (Solaire) in the Old Creek master plan, and Lennar is building out Belmont at the top of San Elijo Hills.
  • Farther south, Davidson Communities is breaking ground on their new detached condominium site, (Arista) at The Crosby.
  • Shea Homes is also making news in Mission Valley with its new communities in the Civita master plan.

The communities of Otay Ranch and Olympic Pointe in Chula Vista will supply the San Diego South Bay with new product in the near term.

Future projects in North County, Mid County and South Bay currently in the planning stages ensure that condominiums will continue to supply lower priced homes throughout the region.

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

1.21 Gigawatts?! Trying to Get Back to the Future in Fresno…

It seems as though the Fresno residential land market is revisiting its past… residential raw land is currently selling for prices paid back in 2000.  During the market peak five or six years ago, unimproved vacant land in “A” locations sold in Fresno for $300,000 per acre.  Today it’s going for prices ranging from $60,000 to $85,000 per acre.

Local homebuilders are in the early stages of reloading their land inventory.  Housing Capital is playing a huge part, as the lender is one of a few banks enthusiastic to offer A, D and C loans.

Recent Land Deal:  Homebuilders are buying un-entitled dirt again but in smaller bites.  A local builder just purchased 10 acres of unimproved land in the heart of northeastern Fresno.  

Fresno local homebuilder Granville Homes is knocking the dust off of Westlake, a master planned community in west central Fresno that has been “mothballed” for the last five years.  The 430-acre project is now scheduled to break ground sometime in 2012.  Westlake is a promising master plan by a talented local builder.  This could spur a land rush from builders and developers alike looking to ride the coattails of this new community now anchoring West Fresno.

According to Fiserv, a financial analytics company, Madera is on the mend…  Fiserv identified Madera (about 25 miles northwest of Fresno) as a “winner” in a long list of sub-markets around the U.S. in terms of housing valuations.  The Chicago Tribune article states that home values across the Nation are anticipated to decrease in the coming year, but that home values in the Madera area will gain 15.5%!

Fresh from the FresnoBee.com News Blog… the number of foreclosures in the Central Valley fell during the third quarter of this year compared to the same time a year ago.  However, building permits are way down. In Fresno, only 19 single-family permits were pulled in September compared to 113 in August, and 120 permits a year ago at the same time. …Adapting to changing demographics and consumers’ needs, Lennar Homes rolls out a new model in the Central Valley.

So, despite Fresno residential land values resetting to decade lows, Land Advisors is looking to blast a few gigawatts into the market with two large Fresno area listings in early November – stay tuned!

Source: Mark Utman, Marketing Consultant, (559) 449-4500

Urban Infill: War and Peace in the LA Basin

The Land Advisors Urban Infill team is currently working with several developers who have recently submitted tentative tract maps, are revising existing tract maps, or intend to submit new tract maps for for-sale housing developments.  The Team is seeing the highest concentration of activity in Northeast Los Angeles (Echo Park, Silver Lake, Eagle Rock, and Glassell Park).

The City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety’s September newsletter revealed that the City’s number of housing starts year-to-date is still low (-31% YOY).  However, plan check revenue is up (41% YOY), indicating an upswing of future housing supply.  Newsletter Sept 2011

Ideally located new home communities selling well-designed homes are showing strong sales numbers. In the third quarter, the Urban Infill Team led the closing eight single family attached lots at Lennar’s Playa Vista. In response to the growing demand for additional product in Playa Vista, Lennar closed the 2nd and 3rd lot take downs four months early. 

Los Angeles Land Use Update:  The Planning Department’s Code Studies Section unveiled late last week a draft ordinance that would allow the creation of site-specific development rules that could loosen-up laws on density, setbacks and open space requirements. The new process, called Planning Unit Development, is part of the Department’s 3-year-old effort to streamline the Municipal Code while also encouraging more public participation. Some might say those goals are as congruent as war and peace. http://www.landusela.net/2011/09/planning-dept-unveils-latest.html

Source: Tim Barden, Marketing Consultant, (949) 852-8288 x30, and Richard Byrd, Senior Marketing Consultant (626) 376-9840 x13, and Chris Gomez-Ortigoza, Marketing Consultant, (626) 376-9840 x14

Riding the Santa Clarita Valley Rollercoaster

Homebuilders and developers looking to build and invest in the Santa Clarita Valley (SCV) are faced with high barriers to entry such as high development costs, challenging topography and various entitlement restrictions governed by the County of Los Angeles. 

Four new master planned communities are selling homes in the SCV right now: West Creek/West Hills (Valencia), Fair Oaks (Canyon Country), Plum Canyon (Santa Clarita) and River Village (Valencia).  According to Hanley Wood, there are…

  • 14 new home communities actively selling homes – 6 in Valencia, 5 in Santa Clarita, and 3 in Canyon Country.  11 are single family detached product, 2 townhomes, and one duplex.
  • Total of 1,551 units planned; 1,109 units remaining
  • 29 new home closings this quarter to date (Q3); 86 closings year to date
  • Average monthly sale rate is 1.9 units over the lifetime of the projects. Laurel Park at Plum Canyon and Artisian at West Creek have seen the highest monthly sale rate at over 3 units per month over the lifetime of the project.
  • Home prices range from $270,000 – $656,657. Homes within the communities of Aria, Artisan and Esperto at West Creek; and Echo Pointe and Echo Ridge at Plum Canyon are selling below $400,000.

Homebuilders that are currently selling new homes in SCV are Lennar (West Creek and River Village), KB Home (Echo Pointe at Plum Canyon, Echo Ridge at Plum Canyon and Milan at West Hills), Pardee Homes (Fair Oaks Ranch) and Shapell Homes (Heatherton at Plum Canyon Ranch and Sage at Plum Canyon Ranch).

Multi-family Activity:  In late spring of this year, Archstone Communities purchased 150 townhome units from Pardee Homes.

In July of this year, the property previously proposed for residential development known as Copper Creek, was purchased for $3.1 million by the City of Santa Clarita for inclusion in the City’s park and open space system. The 528-acre parcel is located on the City’s northern border with the County of Los Angeles.  Land Conservation Brokerage, Inc. of San Diego and Land Advisors Organization co-listed the property. Read more: PRESS RELEASE

Source: Randy Coe, CCIM, Senior Marketing Consultant, (949) 852-8288 x18 and Michel Faris, Marketing Consultant, (949) 852-8288 x14