San Diego County: A Shortage of Land in a Housing Market Screaming For Inventory

You don’t have to be a whiz at Economics 101 to understand the supply and demand imbalance affecting available housing and developable land in San Diego County.  You only need to drive around town or talk to neighbors in order to understand that the County is poised to experience a crises with respect to finding available housing to meet the demand.

According to the San Diego Association of Governments, the pace of residential building permits in San Diego County over the last five years is about half of what the region now needs each year (12,000 units needed annually).  In addition, only approximately 4,300 resale homes are currently on the market within San Diego County – a four year low according to numbers from the local Realtors Association.  A six month supply of housing inventory has historically been associated with a balance in supply and demand.

Currently, there is less than a two month supply of housing inventory in San Diego County!

Building Permit Chart

The scarcity of housing supply has fueled double-digit annual increases in the median price of homes sold in San Diego County in each of the past seven months, according to Data Quick based in La Jolla.  Based upon a recent per square footage analysis from the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors, Single Family Home prices have risen 14% from a year ago and Condominium/Townhouse resale values have skyrocketed 21%.

According to Data Quick, the 19% gain in the price of homes sold in March 2013 was the highest annual gain seen since January of 2005 (a few months before the peak in home values prior to the recently past recession).

Would-be buyers active in the resale market must compete with a significant percentage of “all cash” buyers (now accounting for approximately a third of all transactions).  Thus, there is amped up demand for new homes which once represented one sale for every four to six resales.  New home sales made up only 7% of total residential home sales in San Diego County in March 2013.  The drop in market share shows that fewer homes are being constructed and fewer acres of developable land are available for builders.

Future demand for housing may only increase as unemployment eases and low interest rates (now below 4%) jump start throngs of current renters who understand that their total monthly obligations for a condominium or townhome are likely now less then the rent they are paying each month.

As a result, LAO is now seeing unprecedented demand for both entitled and un-entitled subdivision land throughout the greater San Diego Metropolitan Area.

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

Bay Area: Back to the future—Are condos the new apartments???

I have to admit it…I was dead wrong. I thought (like many others) that condos were going to be dead for a while.  Many people really don’t want to live in a condo but they end up “settling” for them because of the relative affordability closer to job bases. As prices in the Bay Area have resumed their pre-collapse march up at 10+% per year, condos are making resurgence.

Given the resurgence in attached for-sale product in the Bay Area, the “highest and best” use has now probably switched back to condos from apartments.  And it probably won’t be long before we see the reverse of what happened a few years ago where condo sites were re-entitled to apartment deals.  Now we’ll start seeing apartment sites re-entitled to townhomes and condos. If you have one of these sites feel free to give us a call to help evaluate all the options in the fast changing market.  There are many factors to consider in making this kind of decision; our in-fill experts can help you juggle all the factors to position your site for maximum sales proceeds!

http://www.contracostatimes.com/business/ci_22613042/bay-area-condos-tight-supply-has-buyers-scrambling.html

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

Warm Weather and Hot Rents in LA

As we begin to approach the fall, you can bet the weather will cool down but the apartment market will continue its hot streak. The Los Angeles Infill Team has been paying close attention to apartment rental trends and has seen favorable signs for continued rent growth.

Apartment rental rates in Los Angeles continued on their strong path of growth as seen in year-over-year data in the second quarter 2012. Average rents for all types of rental units increased 5.3%. The biggest surprise may be the average YOY growth seen in both two and three bedroom townhome units. Rents in two bedroom townhome units increased an average of 13.8%, while rents in three bedroom townhome units increased 17.2%. Townhome and three bedroom units have seen a large boost in pricing as many families displaced by foreclosure try to find units large enough to accommodate them. Several buyers, including investors and developers, are paying close attention to these statistics and are pushing to purchase properties with the ability to build and rent townhomes then convert them to condominiums as the for-sale market improves. Average occupancy rates have continued to tick upwards and touched 95.5% in Q2 2012 for metro Los Angeles.

These are strong signs keeping the search for apartment land deals atop the list of many builders and developers. The Los Angeles Infill Team at Land Advisors recently transacted on a rental townhome project and has a handful of other apartment deals under contract. Our team is well versed in the local rental market and eager to discuss available and active apartment projects.

For further questions and information, please contact Chris Gomez-Ortigoza, Tim Barden or Richard Byrd at (626) 376-9840.

The following news articles highlight the strength of the rental market in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California.

http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Rents-on-the-Rise-Across-Southern-California-147394535.html

http://www.zoliath.com/commercial-real-estate-blog/2012/09/12/los-angeles-apartment-market-set-for-significant-growth/

Source: Chris Gomez-Ortigoza, Marketing Consultant

Summer Sizzle in The OC

The summer sun is here and hopefully it’s shining bright on Taylor Morrison’s GRAND OPENING of the Palisades – located in the Vista Del Verde master plan in Yorba Linda. Townhomes will range from 2,206-2,626 square feet and pricing starts in the high $500’s for 6 floor plans.  The opening event is planned for Saturday, June 30th!

Apartments here in Orange County remain HOT!  Rents are UP and more supply continues to come on the line and lease up quickly – even leasing up ahead of schedule, as is the case at The Irvine Company’s newest community, Cypress Village.

The City of Lake Forest approved Toll Brothers & Shea’s plans for Baker Ranch, a +2,300-unit development on +380 acres. The land is one of the City’s “Opportunities Study Areas,” enabling residential development now that the land use is no longer affected by the El Toro Marine Base flight path.

In the recent elections, the City of Yorba Linda passed both Measures H & I.  The Measures allow for increased development on a number of sites that will accommodate moderate, low and very low income households.

The Olson Company will be building 27 single-family homes and 61 townhomes  at the future Solano Walk in Fountain Valley adjacent to the Civic Center.

Source: Allison Rawlins, Marketing Consultant, (949) 852-8288 ext. 26, and Mike Hunter, Senior Marketing Consultant, (949) 852-8288 ext. 37

San Diego County Market Trends Update

The Coastal Counties of Southern California (including San Diego County), continue to garner attention as on the fast track to a near-term market recovery in the housing market.

The word on the street today in the real estate industry (locally and on Wall Street) is that San Diego County is suffering from a supply shortage of new construction rental housing.

A robust supply of capital appears to be anxiously awaiting the opportunity to finance the development of new multi-family housing in “A” and “B” locations throughout the County. Given the perceived shortage of new construction rentals, nine multi-family projects totaling over 2,600 units are currently in the planning pipeline.

Vacancy rates among new rental townhouse properties that are built and designed with for-sale housing features in the County are close to 100% occupancy, likely due to the ownership of housing design and upgraded features (direct access to two-car enclosed garages etc.), attracting the many foreclosure and short sale “refugees,” or casualties from the “Great Recession.”

The majority of vacant multi-family properties are currently offered in the range of $50,000 to $100,000 per door, depending upon the strength of location.

SAN DIEGO S-CURVE: In the new construction for-sale housing sector, the “San Diego S-Curve Submarket” has dominated new home sales in the County for the last 12 months.

The S-Curve Submarket can be described geographically as: Beginning with the Carmel Valley (Pacific Highlands Ranch, Carmel Country Highlands etc.), moving east along Highway 56; and then north through the Torrey Highlands/Westview High School area along Camino Del Sur up to and including the Del Sur Ranch, and then east through the 4S Ranch and Camino Del Norte Road.

New home communities located within the S-Curve submarket attract many of the white collar executives and engineers who are employed in the biotech and high-tech firms such as Qualcomm, Sony, Hewlett Packard, etc.  These consumers place a heavy premium on the stellar public schools serving this submarket.  They also find access to this area convenient through Interstates 5 and 15, and Highway 56.  The majority of subdivision land within this submarket accommodating new single family detached housing has been equivalent to values ranging between approximately $300,000 and $500,000 per finished lot, depending upon location and lot size.

North San Diego County: In North County large scale residential development remains to be developed in master plans within Del Sur Ranch, the West Robertson Ranch, and Pardee’s land holdings in the Pacific Highlands Ranch Area (east Carmel Valley). A number of sizeable land plays located within the North County perimeter submarkets (Bonsall, Escondido, Valley Center, Fallbrook, Pala Mesa, and the I-15 Corridor between Riverside and San Diego Counties) are awaiting a demand push for the relative large supply of lots and homes in the region.

East San Diego County: In East County, the Fanita Ranch in Santee has yet to be developed.  A steady supply of small bite-sized infill land opportunities are emerging.

South San Diego County: The South Bay is the “800-pound gorilla in the room” because it has thousands of residential units remaining to be developed within existing and proposed master planned communities in the East Chula Vista area and Otay Mesa area.  The Baldwins and extended family, McMillin Communities, and Home Fed are a few of the builders/developers with skin in the game.  In addition, the area between East Chula Vista and the Mexican border (Otay Mesa, Brown Field etc.) has the potential for a large volume of new housing development within the next five years given the revised zoning currently being considered by local government.

With the pending housing market recovery, the development of a vibrant downtown San Diego housing market will be in reach again, once the dust settles concerning local government redevelopment.

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

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

Central Coast: Full Sails Again for Santa Barbara Realtors

Spring flowers are blooming, the Pacific Ocean breeze is blowing, and South Santa Barbara home sales activity is picking up!  Central Coast resale agents are finding themselves busy again.  Traffic, escrows, listings and pricing in certain areas are all up, kicking the Central Coast’s spring selling season into gear.

The Beautiful Santa Barbara Real Estate Blog reported… Santa Barbara Real Estate through the end of March ‘12 for Montecito, Hope Ranch, Santa Barbara, Goleta, Carpinteria and Summerland:  Comparing the first 3 months of 2011 with the same period in 2012, sales are up about 35% with escrows up over 50% and the median sales price is up bit while the average sales prices is down a bit. Year-over-year the Sales Price to Original Price ratio is within 2% of where it was last year and the Days on the Market for sold properties is within 12 days of where it was in 2011.

An example of the Central Coast’s uplifting sales activity is City Ventures’ East Beach Collection in Santa Barbara.  The 48-unit attached townhome project is seeing impressive sales, with only 5 more to go before completion.  The project has sold 15 homes in 2012 (5 per month!).  The City Ventures marketing team attributes the strong homebuyer interest to the project’s unique location, quality product and the limited supply of new product currently available in the marketplace.  The East Beach Collection is four blocks from Santa Barbara’s famous State Street and four blocks to the ocean.  With no amenities and surrounded mostly by office buildings, the project is in the new hip, up-and-coming area (also referred to as the “funk zone”).

Source: Matt Power, Senior Marketing Consultant, (805) 845-2660