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The biggest new trend in Manteca
Laurin Sephos of Raymus Homes stands outside the Starla model home in Rinas Grove in South Manteca.

Ever wonder how some families can afford a new home in Manteca with the low end prices pushing $400,000?
It’s because a significant number of new homes aren’t being bought and occupied by one family but rather two families.
Sales associate Laurin Sephos of Raymus Homes noted between 20 and 25 percent of the homes the local builder that traces its Manteca roots to 1945 closes escrow on have two families buying them. In some cases it is a relative or an associate co-signing. But in many cases it involves two separate families such as parents and a family  of one of their offspring buying a home and living in it together or, in a growing number of instances, two couples that aren’t related are buying and living under the same roof and have all of their names on the mortgage.
Two other South County builders contacted by the Bulletin Thursday confirmed they are experiencing the same trend.
It isn’t exactly a new trend. It first emerged in 2004 in the run-up to the housing crisis as the median price for a new home in both Manteca and Lathrop pushed $500,000.  Multiple families were buying homes in the Mossdale Crossings area of Lathrop. The city couldn’t figure out why wastewater flows were soaring above projections based on the number of single family homes built. Then they conducted a low-key door-to-door survey and found many new homes had two families under one roof.
Back in 2004 when Seeno Homes in the Heritage Ranch neighborhood built not only base homes starting at 4,336 square feet — a record for the size of a tract home at the time — but they also set the high mark for the most ever paid for a new production home in Manteca at $750,000.

Multiple families were
moving into new
homes as early as 2004
Realtors at the time noted a number of the homes that featured two master suites — including one that was almost 1,000 square feet that ran the length of the back yard side of the second floor and another that was on the second floor behind double doors that featured a mini-living area complete with a kitchen area — many had multiple families moving in but only one family or person on the mortgage in most cases.
Now the trend is for families to pool their resources up front to purchase instead of one simply paying rent.
Purchasing a $450,000 home with 10 percent down and factoring in mortgage insurance, homeowners’  insurance and taxes will mean a $2,698 a month mortgage. Split it evenly between two families and it drops to $1,349 a  month. That’s $150 less a month that the average two bedroom one bathroom apartment rents for that was part of the annual Bulletin apartment rent survey conducted last week.
In some cases parents of grown children sell their existing home and put significant equity into the purchase of the new home.
Atherton Homes at Union Ranch and Lafferty Communities at Oakwood Shores first rolled out casitas or in-law quarters under the same roof that typically have separate entrances along with an interior access while boasting of a master suite, master bathroom and a large living area with private patio some seven years ago to adjust to the changing market. While builders still offer such options what is surprising today — to a degree — is that families going together on buying new homes are simply buying large floor plans and opting for two master suites while common areas are communal for want of a better term.
It underscores how many Californians have been coping with decades of high housing prices when state officials for years have said the Golden State is accumulating an annual shortfall of 200,000 to 400,000 housing units that are need but aren’t getting built.
The impacts on neighborhoods are negligible with two families living together in new homes than they were 15 years ago. That’s because a lot of popular models with multiple buyers that are residing in the same home have deeper or wider driveways and are built on larger lots.

Bid to provide in-law quarters in new home being built was met with resistance in Manteca
 in late 1990s
It mirrors a trend in older Manteca neighborhoods where multiple families share homes or three generations and sometimes more live under one roof.
Back in the late 1990s when Raymus Development — the firm founded by the late Antione Raymus— had a client that wanted to create a separate in-law quarters with a separate entrance in a new home being built at Chadwick Square, the request hit roadblocks at city hall and irked neighbors who feared it would be used as a rental.
Then in 2004 when several of the super-sized Seeno homes were occupied by as many as three families with the accompanying vehicles, neighbors appeared before the Manteca City Council arguing that more than one family couldn’t reside in a single family radiance.
But by then federal fair housing laws made it clear such a restriction wasn’t legal and that banks couldn’t discriminate against multipole buyers who wanted to purchase the same home and both parties, or families, ride there as their principal residence.
Single family homes today simply mean in most cases a free standing home designed for one family although they can’t be restricted to one family per se.
Back in the 1970s when rising home prices in Orange County put the squeeze on affordability, Irvine Company rolled out a  floorplan design to accommodate buyers getting pinched that was lifted from college housing suites. Such suites would have three or four bedrooms often with separate bathrooms clustered around a common living area and kitchen. The Irvine Company offered townhouses that has two separate master bedroom suites attached to oversized sitting areas that flanked a common living area and kitchen.
 “Sometimes it takes a trend a while to catch on,” Sephos noted.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email