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BOTTOM IS GETTING HIGHER

$189K buys you 480-square-foot Manteca home

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POSTED October 13, 2017 7:12 p.m.



It’s being billed as one of your last chances to get a remodeled  home under $200,000 in Manteca.
It was remodeled in 2016 with a nice kitchen complete with double door refrigerator and pull out freezer.
You may say house, others might say furnished IKEA store model apartment.
The home at 407 Stockton Avenue lists for $189,950 with 480 square feet of living space on a lot that is more than 700 square feet (excluding garage footprint) smaller than the typical new home being built in Manteca. The lot size? It is 1,999 square feet. And there is no garage.
Welcome to Manteca’s 2017 housing market.
The harsh reality is the asking price pretty much reflects the market today in Manteca.
There are more buyers chasing less homes. And while the upper part of the market has stalled simply because there are less people that can afford homes as you go up the price ladder, that’s not the case on the lower end of the market. It has the largest possible pool of buyers that can afford homes due to the lower prices.
It is why the one bedroom, one bathroom home built in 1947 in one of Manteca’s oldest neighborhoods could very well end up fetching $395 per square foot.
And if you think the price is wracked, consider this: It is still below what the historic peak in mid-2005 when a 550-square-foot home four blocks away successfully commanded $427 per square foot.
The big difference between the market today and in 2005 is the interest rates. With 30-year mortgages still available at just under 4 percent, a FHA loan with 3.5 percent down payment of $6,648 at interest translates into a monthly mortgage payment of $1,199 once taxes, homeowners insurance and mortgage insurance are tossed in.
That compares to a studio apartment in the 1980s era Westwood Village complex  on West Center Street with 460 square feet you could rent for $1,015 a month — assuming one was available.
Some Fuji Apple to Delicious Apple comparisons of a recent home sale with a 2005 home sale — both homes built roughly in the same year and similar square footage and lot size — shows you that prices today are relatively sane compared to 12 years ago. Each have two bedrooms and one bath.
An 800-square-foot home at Sutter Street and Lincoln Avenue sold for $305,000 in 2005 while a home at 225 S. Veach with 749 square feet closed escrow earlier this month for $235,000.
We still have a ways to go before reaching the 2005 plateau. That’s the semi-good news. There are signs that prices at the bottom of the market are accelerating ever so slightly especially for homes between 1,100 and 1,500 square feet as more and more buyers due to affordability end up shopping and buying in that segment.
If you want to buy a home or stabilize your housing costs you might want to take a deep breath and examine your spending and saving plans, debt, goals, and various loan options. You also have to decide where you are willing to live. As housing prices — and that includes rent — continue to rise and you don’t want to rent a room or share a house to stay in Manteca, you need to do some thinking. And if you don’t live in Manteca but in Modesto, Ceres or Turlock and you want to stabilize your monthly housing costs, you might want to start looking at purchase options.
The reason is simple. People who eventually are squeezed out of Manteca due to rising prices will head elsewhere and it won’t be toward the Bay Area. That in turn will spur price jumps north and south along the Highway 99 corridor.
You think that may not happen on Modesto or Turlock, but it eventually will. That’s because there has been a distinct pattern in market retractions since the 1980s caused by the constantly growing influence of the Bay Area economy on life east of the Altamont Pass. The elasticity of the rebound keeps shortening.
Each economic pullback since the 1980s has seen some long-distance commuters in Manteca— especially if their children are grown and they are still working — take advantage of dropping Bay Area prices to move back closer to work. In the early 1980s they were able to move back San Jose. In the early 1990s it was Pleasanton and in 2008 it was Livermore. The next time around the ability for such long-term commuters to return to the west of Altamont Pass will likely be gone. While prices retreat they have never slid back to the trough of the previous recession.
At the same time rents during previous recessions have stalled, not dropped. After a pause rents start climbing typically before home sale prices do.
And if you are buying a home and don’t use it as an ATM along the way, you have stable monthly housing prices for 30 years and then it’s free and clear save for taxes.
As for the recent sales history of the home at 407 Stockton in Manteca, it closed escrow on Sept. 23, 2005 at $145,000. It sold after the market hit bottom for $40,000 on Aug, 26, 2009.
It’s most recent sale was on Aug. 5, 2016 for $150,500 as a fixer upper. Now after being remodeled it is on the market for $189,950.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com

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