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Do you know the way to Manteca?
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The home has four bedrooms and three bathrooms in a two-story floorplan with 2,162 square feet. It was built in 1979 and is close to a high school. Where is this gem located?
Scan the photos on and you’d guess it is in the neighborhoods off Wawona Street between Union Road and Winters Street making the nearby high school Sierra High.
The address is 2423 Hecate Place. It is not in Manteca. If it were, you’d be looking at an asking price of under $400,000 since a 2,720-square-foot home built in 1988 on Sunfish Drive with a five-bedroom three-bathroom two-story floorplan has a sale pending for $388,000.
Where is the first mentioned listing? It is in San Jose. The asking price is $1,288,000. And they already have multiple offers after just a few days on the market.
So why should you care?
It is 68 miles from Manteca to San Jose or an hour and 12 minutes without traffic.
That San Jose home with 20% down at today’s rates carries a monthly payment of $5,414.
You can buy the Manteca home that is newer, has one more bedroom and is almost a third larger for 5% down and a monthly payment of $1,764 or nearly $3,700 less a month.
If Dionne Warwick was in a composing mood today, one of her signature hits might be “Do You Know the Way to Manteca?” with lyrics such as “. . . You can really breathe in Manteca/They’ve got a lot of space/There’ll be a place where I can stay  . . .”
Manteca has long been in the gravitational pull of the Bay Area housing market. With each economic flare-up the pull gets stronger and stronger.
What brings this up is the latest data from the National Association of Realtors. San Jose has just become the first city where the price for a typical home exceeds $1 million. The median price of a home in San Jose is now at $1.085 million with the nation’s second priciest market — San Francisco — at $885,000.
The ripple effect of being as close as Manteca is to not just the two priciest housing markets in the nation but also the fastest growing region for high paying tech jobs doesn’t require a Stanford economist to explain to you what is going to happen. Homes prices and rents in Manteca aren’t going to be going down anytime soon.
Now take a look around. Except for Lathrop with its 11,000-home River Islands planned community, there is no other city that has close to 10,000 housing units in various stages of approval in the Northern San Joaquin Valley plus has basic infrastructure such as sewer and water in place that can expand to accommodate the growth. No one even comes close.
It’s a bit too late in the game for avalanche control. What needs to be done now — and definitely not at a leisurely place — is for the city to put mechanisms in place to make sure growth enriches the quality of life and doesn’t turn Manteca into a spreading blob of tract homes broken up by neighborhood shopping centers tied together with walled corridors without the amenities — cultural and otherwise — a city of 125,000 plus should offer.
Growth doesn’t have to be bad. Growth is what got a lot of shopping opportunities that many people aptly described as long-time resident had been complaining fairly vocally that Manteca lacked such as Wal-Mart, Target and others.
Growth needs to be directed, managed and occur in such a fashion it lifts up a community and doesn’t drag it down.
At the same time it is sheer madness to allow growth to price people out of their homes and apartments and flee deeper into the interior of the San Joaquin Valley to the edge of the foothills, or to Alabama.
It is painfully obvious Manteca needs to seriously step up its game of enticing developers to build multi-family units whether they are apartments, duplexes, or townhouses for people to rent.
That said, Manteca will continue to stay affordable for many people who opt out of the post-World War II trend of believing the American Dream is one family owning and living in one home. That dream has been slipping away for years for most that graduate from local high schools and opt to seek work here in the valley and raise a family.
It is why city leaders must understand the encouragement of affordable housing in today’s market no longer means buying a home but rather being able to afford to put and keep a roof over your head.
Manteca has a daunting challenge in the next few years.
At the same time it has once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Growth is like a wild stallion. It is a powerful force.
Work diligently to channel its energy and follow through to get it moving in the right direction and you’ve got a thing of beauty with the strength to match.
But take a half-hearted approach to the process and growth — just like a stallion — will kick apart the corral you spent years making, toss you about, and take control.
The last thing anyone in Manteca wants to do is wake up 20 years from now realizing growth kicked them in both the head and derriere and left the corral in shambles.