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3,587 reasons to buy now

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POSTED April 9, 2010 1:46 a.m.

Are you ready to scratch your head?

Manteca’s existing home sales 95 days into 2010 are on pace to match last year’s record setting 1,211 closed deals. There have been 292 homes sold in 95 days.

If the tempo of sales holds, that means by the end of 2010 some 3,587 existing Manteca homes will have exchanged hands or 16 percent of all housing stock including apartment units and mobile homes.

So how come in a shaky economy some $634,899,000 has been sunk into homes in Manteca which - given its location is regards to Stockton, Modesto, and Merced - is right at the heart of arguably the worst housing market in America for foreclosures? If that doesn’t boggle the mind, toss in the fact we have a 16.1 percent unemployment rate in Manteca

What gives?

There is probably not a better time historically to buy a home in Manteca. Not only are most homes selling under market - meaning they are selling for less than it would cost to build them new today - but the affordability rate has never been this high. Toss in the fact this area is primed to be at the forefront of the coming recovery and you’ve got an ideal situation for buyers whether there are purchasing to live in the home or as an investment.

How, can anyone say this area is primed for growth? It’s not too hard when you look where people are putting their money. One of the few - if not only - major retail in Northern California that is being built is in Manteca at The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley as the spigot has been turned off for most commercial loans given the fears that foreclosures in that real estate sector will start hammering values even harder. Manteca last year sold 308 new homes while Modesto sold eight. Manteca, in the first two months of 2010 has started 111 housing units or over 60 percent of all residential construction in San Joaquin County.

The biggest factor by far, though, is affordability. Housing costs for existing homes are now just at under 2.5 times the median income for Manteca. That is the point when economists agree a housing market has reached affordability status for the majority of potential buyers. Just four years ago the affordability index was extremely low as the median price of housing was more than seven times the median income.

It is an unprecedented time for affordability in Manteca. Anyone who has every given so much as a thought to buying a home or who remembers how rents were going up in the early part of the last decade understands the opportunity that now exists in Manteca.

Affordability isn’t a major road block anymore.

It also helps buyers are closing deals with mortgages where it is costing them about the same per month - sometimes even less - than what they were paying for rent.

Thanks to the affordability level there is no real justification for waiting any longer. In factor, due to tax credits - as well as mortgage tax deductions - there are reasons why not buying if owning is your ultimate goal no longer makes sense. Even though most real estate experts agree that the Manteca market’s bottom probably won’t go any farther, why not wait?

There is no big rush to buy, right?

Well, it depends on how you look at it. If you can get a tax credit it is even more affordable. But the real bottom line is this won’t last forever. When it will start retreating is anybody’s guess.

There is a lot to be gained - housing stability, better selection, and the ability to secure a loan - by buying now instead of later.

By the end of 2010, the chances are there will be at least 3,587 homeowners who can attest to that who have bought over a three-year span.

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