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30 new homes started in Manteca during April
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Manteca developers started 30 new homes in April.

It is expected to be enough to continue Manteca’s position as the leader in new housing permits in the Northern San Joaquin Valley for the 17th straight month.

 It underscores how Manteca has positioned itself in terms of how the 3.9 percent growth cap and development agreements impact infrastructure investments as well as the amenities the city has put in place.

The constraints of the growth cap coupled with development agreements that were seen as vital by developers to secure sewer allocations meant builders had to be more deliberate in planning their infrastructure investments. As a result, most Manteca builders didn’t get ahead of the market by overbuilding.

At the same time it has provided them with a backlog inventory of 957 build-able lots as of Feb. 1. While that represents a good deal of working capital in the ground that they have yet to get back, it also means they don’t have to have a big investment to go forward with building homes which is not the case in many surrounding jurisdictions. It has allowed developers to keep building in Manteca to essentially snap up the bulk of the demand of well-positioned new home buyers.

Developers - such as Raymus Homes: The Next Generation - which don’t have subdivisions ready to go, believe the city’s five-year suspension of bonus bucks collected for sewer allocations uncertainty will make new investment in infrastructure  pencil out sooner. That means if everything goes according to the strategy mapped out by developers and municipal leaders, Manteca will keep having steady growth as the backlog of build-able lots dwindle.

That helps to keep the weakened construction trades - the top source of private sector blue collar jobs in Manteca - going while at the same time providing a steady stream of revenue to the city without requiring expansion of basic services.

The 30 homes started in Manteca during April had an average 2,807 square feet compared to the 41 homes started during March that had an average of 2,520 square feet. The April square footage average is over 1,250 square feet more than the average size of a new house being sold when the new home market hit bottom in Manteca in December 2007 through March 2008.

The average construction price of the Manteca homes started in April was $172,879 compared to March when it was $149,866. That is construction only and excludes everything from land and marketing costs to infrastructure and lot preparation as well as growth fees in excess of $42,000 leveled on a typical new home in Manteca.

Manteca has now started 182 housing units in the first four months of the year.

There were 111 housing units started in Manteca during January and February including the 52-unit affordable seniors’ apartment complex being built on North Main Street behind Dribble’s Car Wash and Burger King.

Lathrop started 16 new housing units in the first two months  of 2010 followed by the unincorporated areas of San Joaquin County with 14, Stockton with 13, and Tracy with two. Ripon, Lodi, and Escalon did not issue a single housing permit in January or February.