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Best prices in 20 years on 2-1
You could rent 2-1 apartment for $285 more a month than buying 2-1 home
The three bedroom, one bathroom home in Powers Tract at 339 Edwards Ave. is listed for $119,900. - photo by DENNIS WYATT
The homes along the narrow streets in the 600 blocks of Fir and Pine have served as barometers for housing affordability in Manteca since they were first built in the 1950s.

It stands as the only two bedroom, one bathroom neighborhood in Manteca.

It also represents a unique segment of the current Manteca market that is also reflected in various spots across the city. That segment is the sub-$110,000 market that has solid homes in fairly good shape, larger yards, desired neighborhood locations in relation to amenities and a need mostly for cosmetic work. Investors tend to shy away from them in favor of the three bedroom, two bathroom floor plans as two bedrooms and one bathroom or even three bedrooms and one  bathroom are a bit harder to rent so they fetch even less in a hot rental market than other floor plans they can pick up now for just a few bucks more.

While median Manteca prices are currently reflecting the market of late 2001, this segment of the market  is offering prices that haven’t  been seen in Manteca since the mid 1980s.

One home which has lingered for almost a year after foreclosure – is at 792 Pine Street. It has 792 square feet with two bedrooms and one bathroom and a massive yard. The asking price? The bank tried to get $165,000 for it  some 11 months ago. Today, they are now listing it for $79,900.

That – with a 3.5 percent down FHA loan at 5 percent  30-year fixed rate loan – translates into $520.59 a month including property taxes and insurance. It represents a new level of affordability that didn’t even exist 20 years ago. By the time you toss in $80 a month for sewer, water, and garbage that brings you to $610 a month.

Compare that to an apartment complex that picks up your monthly municipal utilities that have two bedrooms and one bathroom with roughly the same space. The Bulletin’s 2009 survey showed the average price for such an apartment is $895 a month. The least expensive among those surveyed is Sandpiper for $800 a month.

Taking the average, that means if you’re renting an apartment you can save $285 a month by buying the Pine Street  home. Yes, you have a yard to take care of but the bottom line won’t deteriorate as you would then have a mortgage deduction. That puts $285 in your pocket - a nice healthy raise in your discretionary income. It also means you don’t have to worry about rent increases that went up, by the way, an average of $45 a month for a two bedroom, one bathroom apartment in Manteca in the past year.

The down payment is $2,800 for the Pine Street home using the FHA mortgage.

“I’m dealing with young buyers in their 20s who just want to get into a home,” said Linda Aksland of Aksland Real Estate. “They don’t necessarily want a bigger three bedroom and two bathroom home they have to heat and cool. They also want a mortgage payment they can comfortable manage.”

Aksland was raised in the neighborhood. Her parents bought one of the homes in 1950 for $6,000. When she started selling real estate in the mid-1980s, the homes went typically for $80,000. Prices reached the low $90,000 in 1993 in the middle of the trough that followed the $10,000 decline from the 1989 median housing peak of $135,900 in Manteca.

Tom Wilson of Wilson Group Realtors noted that the new generation of buyers  also look at homes a bit differently.

“It is a great neighborhood and a great location,” Wilson said on the Pine Street home.

It is within walking distance of churches, transit services, schools, parks, and downtown.

There are two solid deals out there as well that have three bedrooms and one bathroom. They are both located in the Powers Tract neighborhood sandwiched between Spreckels Park and Manteca High that has a location in term of access to amenities equal or better than Fir and Pine streets.

One, however, is going to auction which means you have to deal with their mortgage company. You could make a full price offer if your financing is accepted before the auction or go to auction where the final price could end up lower or higher.

That home is at 912 Yolo Street. It has three bedrooms and one bathroom with 1,053 square feet and is listed for $90,000. The monthly mortgage with 3.5 percent down and including insurance and property taxes is $583.14.

There is a three bedroom, one bedroom home with 1,094 square feet at 339 Edwards Ave. listed for $119,900. The same type of loan would bring the monthly payment to $768.57.

There are still good deals that are even better than other segments of the market involving three bedroom and two bathroom homes. They usually, though, have some larger drawbacks such as the home at 1355 Armstrong in the Magna Terra neighborhood behind Doctors Hospital of Manteca that backs up to Highway 99. It has 1,170 square feet and is listed for $111,900. The monthly mortgage comes in at $718.95.

In all four cases, even after you toss in $90 for monthly municipal utilities, it is still less than renting a two bedroom, one bathroom apartment in Manteca and that is before tax advantages are factored into the equation.