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 Good, Bad & the Ugly in Sacramento

Sacramento Arena Deal is DOA…  After a whirlwind of meetings between the NBA, the Maloof family and the City of Sacramento, the prospect of building a new arena for the Sacramento Kings is officially dead.  In countless meetings held in locations all over the country, the Maloofs agreed on the terms initially laid out by all sides to build a new arena, structure financing plans and establish a timeline for build out.  However, a number of empty promises from the Maloofs finally came to light as the owners did the Texas Two Step with the NBA and the City, revealing that the deal is not feasible, (even bringing in the family’s own economist to illustrate).

Now Sacramento and the NBA both have egg on their face, and the public and the fans have more questions and doubts that the Kings will ever be viable in Sacramento.

Along with the proposed new arena was the potential for a new wave of jobs – construction and permanent – as well as a start to the redevelopment of the Sacramento Rail Yards.  A new arena would have meant new retail shops and restaurants as well as an onslaught of new homes.

All of the redevelopment ideas will have to be put on hold while the City and Maloofs try to sort out their mess.  In the meantime, the people of Sacramento are angry – some prominent business leaders are even calling for the ouster of the Maloofs and want new ownership to lead the Kings to prosperity… we will see what happens.

Now onto some good news…  Sacramento foreclosures of existing homes are beginning to slow.  In fact, the number of default notices filed in the first quarter of 2012 is the lowest since early 2007.  This should be welcome news for both home buyers and homebuilders alike.

Sacramento Foreclosures

In the last several years, new homebuilders in the greater Sacramento area have been building and selling new homes with pricing that is in line with REO inventory, and in some cases even selling below it.  As the REO product has been dumped onto the market, home pricing and new homebuilder margins have been steadily decreasing.  The Northern California Team has even seen some builders impair lots that were bought just 18 months ago.

With the change of wind direction in just in the last couple of months, builders have started to sniff around again looking for deals and build pipelines for 2013 and beyond.  Furthermore, absorption rates have started to tick up as demand for new homes builds upward.

It looks like Sacramento is finally coming out of the ashes and is ready to start the slow grind toward home price appreciation.

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

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

The Metro Gold Line: a Developer’s Gold Mine

This summer, the Construction Authority awarded the Kiewit Parsons Joint Venture, a $486 million dollar contract to complete the Pasadena to Azusa Gold Line extension project.  Phase 2A is slated to be completed in early 2015, with service running from Downtown Los Angeles to Azusa.  The project will create new Gold Line stations in Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale, West Azusa and East Azusa.  Each city along the Gold Line intends to utilize these new stations to enhance residential, retail and mixed-use developments within walking distance of each station. 

The goal of these Transit Oriented Developments (TOD) is to increase the use of public transportation, decrease the effects of sprawl and create a more sustainable way of living.  TODs generally extend out a quarter to a half-mile from a transit station.  The existing development around many of the proposed stations lack density and will allow for the acquisition and entitlement of many parcels for a more dense uses. 

Why is this important?

The San Gabriel Valley is one of the strongest real estate sub-markets in all of California.  The area boasts several examples of successful projects built during the last few years that have exceeded sales expectations.  This includes Pulte Homes’s Rosecrest Lane project that averaged sales over $800,000 per home in Pasadena in 2010-2011. 

Recent land acquisitions, including a 5.4-acre industrial site in Monrovia that is now planned for mixed-use, show the propensity of buyers and developers for both traditional and transit-oriented areas of the San Gabriel Valley.  With densities expected to double in close proximity to a number of these stations, an estimated increase of 100 to 300 residential units will be needed to satisfy renter and buyer demand at each station. 

The Los Angeles Infill team is closely monitoring the Gold Line extension, and can answer any questions builders and investors may have in regards to preparing for the “gold rush.”  For more news and events related to the Gold Line, check out www.foothillextension.org.

Source: Chris Gomez-Ortigoza, Marketing Consultant, (626) 376-9840 x14