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Manteca: Escrow closes on 26 homes a week
Work started on 31 new homes in Manteca during April. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Overall home sales in Manteca are at a pace of 26 a week so far this year with existing homes outselling new ones by an 11 to 2 ratio.

Manteca is outperforming every city in the Northern San Joaquin Valley as it has for the past three years in new home starts. Its sale of existing homes based on the city’s population also puts it at or near the top in terms of moving inventory.

Even though that pace of 26 homes a week being sold in Manteca is stronger than in the last few years when housing prices heated up, not many sellers, owners of existing homes worried about their values, builders, and banks aren’t exactly ecstatic.

“We’re just happy to just keep building and keep our key people in place,” noted Mike Atherton of Atherton Homes last week.

Atherton pointed out that Union Ranch home buyers in the new neighborhood just east of Del Webb at Woodbridge are getting a lot of product for the price they are paying with most sales in excess of $300,000.

Joe Anfuso noted that Floresheim Homes targeted homes in Valley Blossom at the first-time buyers market coming up with a price point of right around $170,000 that competes with both the foreclosure market to a large degree and puts mortgage payments on par with rental payments for the same size of home.

Del Webb at Woodbridge – which targets the 55 and older market – still accounts for about a quarter of all new home sales in Manteca and is getting ready to start a new phase.

All of that has some homeowners – especially those worried about long-term values but aren’t in the market to sell – fuming.

They contend that by the city allowing new housing construction that it is depressing prices further.

That, according to Anfuso, isn’t the case.

“People who are buying new homes do so because they want the latest technology and Energy Star advantages and want a new product,” noted.

If the city had the legal authority to stop building – which it doesn’t – to manipulate the market, those buying in Del Webb would not be buying in Manteca as they are looking for a specific lifestyle.

Atherton noted the same thing about his buyers who want a move-up product and not a resale.

City leaders, for their part, have stressed the importance of keeping the housing construction moving along as strong as possible. Not only does it provide construction jobs but a number of businesses – such as furniture stores – depend on new homes to help keep sales going.

Anfuso said the market for all practical purposes is essentially on bottom in Manteca in most segments categories as prices are gently rolling up and down throughout the year.

He is confident that things have indeed stabilized to a large degree. That, however, doesn’t mean prices are going to be on the rise anytime soon.

Anfuso noted that the shadow inventory – homes that are delinquent but banks have either yet to start the foreclosure process or are holding on to them – will take a long time to work through the market.

“You’ve got to remember this is one of the hardest hit areas in the country,” Anfuso said.

The vast majority of the sales at Valley Blossom are to first-time buyers with 80 percent of them coming from Manteca and surrounding valley cities with the balance from the Bay Area.

He noted the countywide unemployment rates for both Stanislaus and San Joaquin is in the 17 percent range.

“Until people feel comfortable they won’t lose their job or that they can get another one quickly if they lose the one they have there won’t be a big improvement (in housing sales),” Anfuso said.

Mattie Zedlitz, who has been handling Valley Blossom sales, notes buyers today aren’t expecting to buy their homes to make a quick profit by selling in a few years.

“You are starting to see more people view buying a home not as an investment but as a lifestyle,” Anfuso added.