One of the weather vanes that developers are reading when it comes to Manteca-Lathrop housing once was home to a bunch of squealing kids.
Oakwood Shores - the 450-lot lakefront community that rose from the rubble of the Manteca Waterslides and Oakwood Lake Resort - is the undisputed traditional single family home hot spot in the new housing market.
Lafferty Homes has closed deals on 14 homes in three weeks with expectations to sell 50 homes by year’s end.
What is catching the development community’s eye is the fact these are almost exclusively move-up buyers heralding not from just the valley but from west of the Altamont Pass as well.
The homes that start in the mid-$400,000 range are selling at prices that are more than double the average closed escrow deal of resale homes in Manteca and Lathrop.
Oakwood Shores isn’t the only new neighborhood enjoying better times when it comes to home sales. Atherton Homes’ Summit Collection at Union Ranch in North Manteca is seeing traffic and sales double the pace of just a year ago.
Again, business is taking place in the $400,000-plus range. Closed deals are strong enough that Sales Manager Kathy Hammond noted Atherton Homes plans to have improvements in for another 49 homes in early 2013. Altogether, they have about 100 additional lots that can be created in the neighborhood just east of Del Webb at Woodbridge.
Both projects do share some common threads. Each offers model options that include the emerging hot trend of having a separate living suite featuring a master bedroom with bath, living area and mini-kitchen with its own exterior access plus interior access to the rest of the home. It’s a design that accommodates older parents or older children who have returned to the nest. In many cases the resources of two generations are being pooled to cover the mortgage.
That’s not to imply the primary buyers of such homes can’t afford them on their own. They can.
The Summit Collection benefits from its proximity to Del Webb at Woodbridge which has steadily sold in the neighborhood of 75 to 100 homes annually since the start of the housing downturn. That’s an excellent pace given the circumstances but it isn’t a bellwether for the rest of the housing market given buyers have to be 55 years or older at Del Webb and as such are tapping in a much more financially stable segment of the market.
Many buyers either looked at Del Webb first and liked what they saw but had reservations about the rigid property code enforcement or they are children of Del Webb homeowners who typically fell in love with the valley lifestyle during treks from the Bay Area to visit their parents.
And like Del Webb, there is a healthy mixture of buyers from both sides of Altamont Pass.
The success of Oakwood Shores and generally improving market conditions was part of the decision by River Islands at Lathrop to finally move forward with the first home next year in the 10,800-home planned community.
Cambay Group - with more than $200 million invested upfront in infrastructure and even a new school - has held back for the past five years out of concern they’d dilute the value of their investment should they hit the market on a downward swing.
Now they expect to be selling homes by mid-2013 about a mile as the crow flies from Oakwood Shores.