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Stockton, Modesto homes $58,000 lower than Manteca
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Mountain House - ballyhooed as San Joaquin’s first affordable housing community in the late 1990s when massive zoning changes were needed to make it happen - is anything but even four years into the foreclosure debacle.

The median sales price for the last three months gleaned from Multiple Listing Service data shows the typical existing home closing escrow in Mountain House is $305,050. Compare that to Manteca at $178,500.

That is actually good news. Despite how wacky things have gotten in the resale housing market, old rules still apply for certain things.

The farther you go from the Altamont Pass the less you can expect to pay for a home with four glaring exceptions. Modesto and Stockton both take big dives in the value of closed deals while communities a bit farther from the Bay Area - Lodi and Turlock each rebound by about $30,000 per home.

The other exception to the rule is Ripon and Oakdale. Both have upward spikes.

Oakdale is 20 miles farther away from the Bay Area than Manteca yet the median selling price is $7,000 higher. It is even more pronounced with Ripon at six miles farther away from the Altamont Pass than Manteca. A median home in Ripon is $92,000 higher than in Manteca.

That has to do with the relative exclusivity in both markets. Ripon is home to a number of custom and executive homes with a tightly controlled growth policy aimed at retaining a true small town ambiance. Oakdale is the land of horse property. Overall, they may not have as big and fancy as homes as Ripon but they have acreage attached.

The fact prices balloon upward in the three communities between Stockton and Modesto - Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop - has led to some overly aggressive downward pricing by banks unfamiliar with the market when they determine selling prices. The three cities are bookended by large cities where the median price is $120,000. When someone sitting in Los Angeles or Memphis determines a price for a home their firm has foreclosed on, they will often throw the three cities into the same mix as Stockton and Modesto. It doesn’t happen in all cases but when it does investors have been able to quickly snap up big deals.

It is why a home in a better neighborhood that is also newer will sometimes sell for the same price or even less than another home with the same amount of square footage but is much older and is in a neighborhood that has seen better days.