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162 new home starts so far in 09
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The song of the skill saws accented with the rat-a-tat of hammers has returned to Manteca.

Manteca for the third straight month has recorded more than 30 housing starts with work starting on 36 new homes during July. That means 87 homes have started in the last three months which is more than three times the monthly pace of the prior 14 months.

Housing starts are now up to 162 homes in 2009 through the end of July. Closed escrows on resale homes within the city limits during the same time period hit 740 and are on pace to exceed last year’s record 1,165 closed deals. Even if the new home pace slows down, Manteca is now on target to end 2009 with the highest number of transactions of home sales – both new and resale - in eight years as the total could exceed 1,500 transactions.

Not only are more homes being built but they are getting larger as well.

The typical new home built in Manteca five years ago was just shy of 3,000 square feet.

Then at the bottom of the new housing market when 10 permits were issued in February 2008 the average size fell to 1,577 square feet.
New housing starts in July 2008 saw the average size climb up a bit to 1,760 square feet. A City building statistics from last month show the typical home start in Manteca now is averaging 2,617 square feet.

While home sizes have bounced back what hasn’t are building costs. It cost $25,000 more to build an additional 953 square feet last month compared to the cost in May 2008. And it is only $18,253 more to build the 2,671 square foot home last month than it did the 1,577 square foot home in February 2008.

July to July comparisons show in 2008 the average new home cost $136,616 to build and in 2009 it cost $154,869. Those prices do not reflect between $50,000 and $65,000 per home in growth fees and connection charges or the land costs and developer cost and profit.

The jump in home starts means Manteca’s new home pace is a bit better than in 2008 when 238 new homes were built in Manteca. The current pace, if it holds, will end 2009 with 271 new homes in Manteca.

As of Monday there have been 740 deals closed on existing homes within Manteca’s city limits so far in 2009. It reflects a sales pace of 3.5 homes a day. If the trend holds 1,277 homes will close escrow by year’s end. That would surpass the record 1,165 existing homes sold in 2008.
New home builders are crediting three things for the uptick in new home sales:
•The $8,000 first-time buyers federal tax credit that is good for any home that goes into escrow by Dec. 1 of this year and as long as the buyer hasn’t owned a home in the previous three years.
•The $10,000 state tax credit for buying a new home program whose funding is now exhausted.
•The lowest prices in more than a decade.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail