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33-year-old condos near $200k mark
the Cherry Lake Condos on Union Road at Cherry Lane are Manteca’s most affordable buy-to-own housing option

You can still buy a roof over your head in Manteca for less than $200,000 providing you are willing to live in an apartment unit that has been converted to a condo.

The Cherry Lane Condos along Union Road are now commanding as much as $192,000 depending upon their location in the 33-year-old complex.

The units that are Manteca’s most affordable housing to buy have also experienced the biggest price rebound after the housing market’s downward spiral ended in 2010.

The units that have yet to regain their peak market value of $220,000 plunged as much as 83 percent in value when the housing crash made it possible for a period in Manteca to pay less a month to buy a traditional free standing single family home that it did to rent one and — in a few cases — than to rent an apartment. 

Today, the condos featuring two bedrooms and one bathroom with 941 square feet are still for all practical purposes the least expensive housing in Manteca. That even holds true in most cases after you tack on the $300 a month homeowner’s association fee.

Three of the two bedroom and one bathroom units with 949 square feet are listed for sale with asking prices between $179,998 and $192,500. That compares to the median Manteca resale price of existing homes of $395,000.

Given a condo project has to have 35 percent of the units that are owner occupied for buyers to secure FHA loans with 3.5 percent down payment requirements, conventional loans that typically require at least a 10 percent down are required. Based on a $185,000 selling price and factoring in closing costs at a 30-year fixed rate loan of 4.46 percent plus throwing in property taxes, mortgage insurance, homeowner’s insurance and the $300 monthly association fees, the condo would cost you $1,499  a month. That compares to a monthly payment of $2,674 with a 3.5 percent down FHA home on a median priced Manteca home that sells for $395,000.

Real estate agents expect within two years or less the condos could be back at $220,000 if the housing market continues to tighten with demand exceeding supply.

The Cherry Lane Condos came on the market in September 2006 as the median resale price in Manteca hit $410,000. It was just $3,000 away from the market’s peak.

People in 2006 were willing to pay $220,000 for heavily-aged 800-square-foot homes accessed from alleys. That’s the same price that the Cherry Lane condo conversion units were selling for 12 years ago. 

That — and the fact almost nothing was available for under $300,000 — made the conversion of the apartments built in 1985 into condos appealing to those desperately trying to buy shelter. The owners selling the units billed it as Manteca’s most affordable housing option.

It was a much different story two years later.

What was once the hottest residential property in Manteca was on the bottom of the heap in terms of the price at the close of escrow.

The condos that once sold for $233 per square foot went begging even as late as the second quarter of 2012 for as little as $39.50 per square foot.  Today prices of closed escrows on condos have been recorded as high as $201.27 per square foot or an increase of almost 400 percent for the market’s rock bottom. Several units were being offered for sale in March 2012 ranging from $37,200 to $45,000. The lowest asking price represented an 83.14 percent decline in value in six years.

The lowest a condo closed escrow was in 2008 for $37,200 after it had been foreclosed. That compares to the highest price ever paid for a Cherry Lane condo — $219,900 in September 2006.

Across Union Road at the Golf Villas — rows of free-standing two-story homes that are often classified as townhouses based on their lot size and minimal outdoor space with common space — a three bedroom, three bathroom 1,330-square-foot home has gone pending with a $269,300 offer. Another two bedroom, two bathroom home with 1,390 square feet is available for $295,000.

The Golf Villas fared a little bit in the market collapse. A copycat Golf Villa home similar to the one that just went pending for $269,300 fetched $350,000 before the housing bubble burst. The lowest price that the floorplan sold for when things hit bottom was $78,000. Golf Villas prices have increased more than 350 percent since the bust but are still $55,000 shy of the peak.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email