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Housing starts remain steady

Manteca new home pace slowest since 1991

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Housing starts remain steady

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin New home buyers tour Atherton Homes' Summit Collection at Union Ranch

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POSTED April 21, 2009 1:48 a.m.
By DENNIS WYATT
Managing editor of the
Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin
Manteca’s new home construction remained steady in March with work on 11 new houses getting underway.
It may not sound like much compared to the go-go days of 2000  when ground was broken for 89 homes a month or even 2003 when 66 permits were issued to build homes in a given month by the Manteca building department.
It does, however, mark the fourth month where starts have been right around a dozen a month without a noticeable gain in inventory.
In fact, sales have picked up in some developments such as Atherton Homes’ Union Ranch to effectively wipe out the developer’s standing inventory.
The new neighborhood directly across from Del Webb at Woodbridge off Union Road has sold 21 homes including two this past weekend.
“It is definitely a bit of good news,” said Atherton Homes partner Mike Atherton.
New home builders have been hit particularly hard by the tide of foreclosures that has led to lower prices and a record 1,165 sales of previously owned homes in Manteca during 2008.
Last year, there were 239 single-family home started or built in Manteca. That last time the number of new home starts was lower was in 1998 when there were 243 started.
If the current pace continues, Manteca will end 2009 with 132 new homes started. If that happens, it would be the lowest year of new home starts in Manteca since 1991 when just 67 homes were built.
There have been 35 new housing starts since Jan. 1 valued at a collective $6 million. The average size is 2,952 square feet.
New home sellers across Manteca are reporting increased traffic plus a slight uptick in sales thanks to the $10,000 state tax credit for a new home buyer as well as the $8,000 federal tax credit. Several builders have a good-sized standing inventory – there were about two dozen finished homes south of the Highway 120 Bypass - that had not been sold at the start of the month. Deals are now being made on a number of those homes thanks to aggressive pricing and the tax credit as well as low interest rates.


Manteca new home builders did get off to a big start this year – big as in house sizes.
There were 15 new single family homes started in January compared to 13 in the same month in January.
The real big news, though, was in the size of the homes. The average home started so far this year in Manteca during the first three months of 2008 had 2,925 square feet compared to 2,099 square feet in January 2008. That’s 30 percent larger.
The average cost of construction – the actual cost of building the home excluding land, builder margin, subdivision infrastructure, and growth and connection fees – was up just 28 percent.
 The bulk of the new home construction is taking place in Union Ranch East as well as Del Webb at Woodbridge north of Lathrop Road and Tesoro in southwest Manteca. Florehseim Homes has virtually cornered the $249,990 to $310,000 new home market with their Valley Park and Valley Blossom collection southwest of Airport Way and the Highway 120 Bypass. While Florsheim is aiming for buyers who are frustrated with trying to duke it out on the foreclosure market for a deal, the other builders are aiming at the move-up market of qualified buyers that  is starting to grow stronger with each passing month.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com
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