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Malcontents upset homes are being built

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POSTED December 14, 2009 2:32 a.m.

It doesn’t make sense.

Why anyone would be upset that the private sector in Manteca built 237 single family homes – almost 60 percent of all that were built in all of San Joaquin County – during the fiscal year ending June 30?

Several people took news that people were actually earning paychecks building new homes in Manteca as a negative development.

The reason they gave had everything to do with their perceived loss of value in their own home.

First, the only way the economy will get better – and ultimately housing prices increase – is to reduce unemployment. It was the liar loan/no money down loan era that not only overinflated housing values but also kept job growth going.

The people buying the new homes typically aren’t inclined to buy existing homes. A large chunk of the Manteca homes built were in Del Webb and nearby Union Ranch where older buyers – drawn by the restricted age community – decided it wasn’t their cup of tea but they liked Manteca so they ended up buying across the street.

Anyone who can secure a conventional loan in today’s world to buy a home costing $300,000 and up is someone you want moving into Manteca. It means they have a comfortable household income and will spend their money buying things in stores, dining out, and utilizing services running the gamut from hair care and medical to carpet cleaning.

Some of those upset about new home construction dismiss those working as being illegal immigrants. They really need to get a reality check. First, the tradesmen out there are almost overwhelmingly U.S. citizens. It’s time to stop confusing skin tone with nationality. You’d be amazed at the number of men who died serving this country in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and even the War on Terror who happen to have Hispanic names and came from families that are second, third, fourth fifth, sixth, and even seventh generation American citizens.

It sounds like a refrain that one former Manteca city councilman always used in dismissing the importance of housing jobs by saying all the builders were doing was employing illegals. It is time to give it a rest and recognize that minorities make up the majority of California’s population.

And most of those minorities are legal residents of this country.

Building a home generates more than just construction jobs. It creates trucking jobs, supply jobs, and professional jobs. The people buying the homes spend money in stores including on bigger ticket items such as furniture.

New home construction hasn’t slowed down the pace of foreclosure sales. Manteca is posed to have a second straight record year with the total closed deals of existing homes expected to top last year’s mark of 1,165 homes. This may come as a shock, but only a handful of people in the market to buy foreclosures end up buying new homes. They typically seek out two new neighborhoods where you can buy a new home for between $200,000 and $240,000. In talking with sales agents, the reason they chose to do so is because they wanted something new.

Yes, home values have fallen. If that is a reason to wish those depending on new construction jobs ill, then people are putting short-term personal gain ahead of long-term community – and  their own – good.

None of those squealing about losing value while new homes are being built bought in the past six years. They may still have lost value but nothing compared with people who bought from 2003 to 2008.

I bought a home almost two years ago for $189,500. The county assessor said my home was worth $102,000 on Jan. 1, 2009. Subsequent comparable sales sense then give reason to believe it dropped to $90,000 or less by April of this year.

That should make me bitter, right? After all, I’m making $1,400 a month payments on something that has dropped by almost $100,000 in two years. A home isn’t an investment like stock. It is a place to live and to stabilize your housing expenses.

It will do me better in the long run – and other homeowners as well not to mention people who are in real dire straits economically – if those who couldn’t buy a home four years ago can do so now. It means there will have to be jobs out there to keep the economy rolling. Home building jobs are a big part of it.

To wish home builders ill is akin to slitting your own throat.

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