Manteca’s Del Webb at Woodbridge sold an impressive one out of every five new homes closing escrow in San Joaquin County during 2009.
Pulte Homes also powered Manteca’s minor miracle of leading virtually the entire Northern San Joaquin Valley with new housing starts in the 2008-09 fiscal year. Manteca new housing starts accounted for almost 60 per cent – or 237 out of every 414 new homes- that were built countywide.
For the past three years, Del Webb has topped the Manteca market with 25 percent of all sales this year.
Manteca Mayor Willie Weatherford believes Pulte Homes is on to something and it goes beyond the Del Webb philosophy of creating communities designed for those 55 and older.
“When everyone else was selling their biggest house for $750,000, Del Webb’s was just over $450,000,” Weatherford noted.
The mayor believes there are at least four reasons for Del Webb’s success.
•There are three lot sizes within Del Webb at Woodbridge – 4,000, 5,000 and 7,500 square feet.
•The homes range from 1,300 to 2,600 square feet.
•The streets are narrower.
•Pulte Homes was willing to zero in on specific segment of the market and tailor an entire project to meet their needs and concerns.
Weatherford is hopeful that the council subcommittee addressing ways to help jump start the Manteca new housing market to bring back construction jobs will examine the Del Webb success story. Serving on the committee are council members Vince Hernandez and Debby Moorhead.
The mayor noted Del Webb built smaller homes but maximized space and amenities. He believes that is why the Del Webb homes are still selling well while many others aren’t.
That is what was behind Del Webb’s original request seeking an exemption to the 3.9 percent growth cap.
“They figured they needed the ability to build 300 homes a year to make it work financially for them,” Weatherford said.
The higher cost is attributed not just to smaller homes but also nearly $20 million in upfront amenities.
At the time Del Web was proposed earlier this decade, there were 13 builders who had tied up all of the available sewer allocations. The council allowed an exception to the growth cap for age restricted and affordable housing.
Although the exemption was designed to allow the 3.9 percent growth cap to be exceeded for specific housing types, ultimately that is not what happened. Instead, Manteca housing starts based on sewer allocations have been below the level that would have been dictated by the original 3.9 per cent growth cap rules.
Sales statistics compiled by Hanley Woods also show that Pulte Homes overall has been the “shining star” in the Northern California new housing market. Pulte- along with its Del Webb and Centex brands – accounted for 15 percent of the new home sales in Contra Costa County and 10 percent in Alameda County.