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It makes horse sense to buy homes instead of renting

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It makes horse sense to buy homes instead of renting

A rural Manteca homeowner on Two Rivers Road who has his family's home and 10.7 acres up for sale for $399,000 takes one of his horses for a "ride" in their pond. Additional photos and story in the...

DENNIS WYATT/The Bulletin


POSTED June 5, 2009 2:27 a.m.
Three years ago $399,000 wouldn’t even buy you a 50-year-old house in Manteca with 1,000 square feet on a 5,000-square-foot lot.

Today that amount can buy a 1,200-square-foot home built in 2002 along with 10.7 acres of prime country property complete with your own private pond.

Coldwell Banker Crossroads Real Estate’s Dave Greeley – who has been selling homes since 1965 – can’t remember affordability being so high for so many local buyers.

“Buying a home today is like someone giving you $200,000 free,” Greeley said.

It’s a point he underscores by noting many older homes had been upgraded by previous owners who took out credit lines against their homes that got them into trouble or they were newer homes where they loaded them up with extras that they couldn’t afford once low introductory loan periods came to an end.
“If you buy today you really are getting the upgrades for free,”  Greeley said.

Affordability – annual median household income to the median price of housing – is at an all-time low since World War II. At the market’s peak, the median-priced home was almost 7.5 times the median Manteca income. Economists consider housing prices at 2.5 times the median income to be affordable. The median selling price of $179,900 for a resale home is 2.8 times the median Manteca household income of $62,000.

Real estate agents surveyed by the Bulletin estimated over 90 percent of buyers are either Manteca or Northern San Joaquin Valley residents virtually the flip of three to four years ago when sky high prices in Manteca still represented affordable housing for people in the Bay Area who were being squeezed out of housing near their jobs.

Manteca officials working on Manteca’s new housing element have noted that Manteca, Lathrop, Tracy and nearby cities became the de facto affordable housing plan for Contra Costa and Alameda counties for a number of years.

The high affordability levels is why – despite a 13.6 unemployment rate – Manteca is on pace for a record year for escrow closings on existing homes.

There were 523 homes sold as of June 1 or an annual pace of 1,247 closed deals. Manteca sold a record 1,165 existing homes in 2008.
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