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Manteca retail sales barely down
City fares better than rest of California
GRAPH Retail Sales Tax
Manteca retail sales in the six months ending Dec. 31, 2009 were down $56,000 compared to the same period in 2008.

The 0.9 percent drop was viewed as encouraging news at Manteca City Hall on Tuesday.

Normally flattened retail sales wouldn’t be viewed as a good sign. But then again nothing is normal in how The Great Recession has unfolded.

Manteca, despite the slight drop, is by far the most resilient retail market in virtually the entire Central Valley. Data from the State Board of Equalization shows that Tracy is the city faring the next best in San Joaquin County in the first two quarters of the 2009-10 fiscal year. Tracy saw retail sales plummet $1,134,865 for a 13.1 percent loss. The hardest hit San Joaquin County community was Ripon that saw its receipts for the six-month period fall $656,505 for a 32.2 percent drop.

Manteca outperformed California as a whole as the state experienced a $567.4 million plunge in taxable spending or a 14.1 percent loss.

Manteca also way out front in new home sales
Manteca’s new home sales also led the Northern San Joaquin Valley region by a wide margin.

There were 41 new homes started in Manteca during March including 19 Pulte Homes started in the firm’s Del Web at Woodbridge neighborhood in North Manteca.

That was one more home started in the Del Webb age-restricted community than Lathrop, Tracy, Ripon, Lodi and Escalon combined managed to start in the first two months of 2010 and six more than in the entire City of Stockton during January and February.

It marks at least the 16th straight month Manteca has topped all jurisdiction in San Joaquin County in housing starts.

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.

Existing homes selling at pace of 3.04 every 24 hours
There have been 332 closed transactions of residential property within Manteca’s city limits as of April 20. If that pace continues, there will be 1,111 existing homes sold by Dec. 31. There were a record 1,211 existing homes sold in 2000 and 1,165 previously owned homes sold in 2008

During the past 27 months, there have been 2,707 existing homes close escrow or the equivalent of one out of every nine Manteca homes changing hands.

The median selling prices  are starting to inch back up again after lingering between $174,500 and $176,000 for the first three months of the year.

As of Tuesday, the median selling price has reached $180,000. There are 246 pending deals with a median price of $199,444 and another 188 for sale that have a median listing price of $199,450.

What it means for Manteca’s city budget
The sales tax figures are an encouraging sign for municipal leaders as they start working in earnest on the budget for the fiscal year starting July 1. Manteca is projecting a $3.8 million deficit.

Sales tax performance is virtually a mirror of city revenue projections. If property taxes stay flat after taking a 14.8 percent plunge in the valley last year, the deficit won’t increase.

That is unlike virtually other nearby jurisdiction that is revising their projected budget shortfall based on retail sales tax performance alone.

“We’re still not out of the woods,” cautioned Manteca City Manager Steve Pinkerton.

Bass Pro, Costco, and JC Penney are credited with filling in the losses – and the some – from the losses cause dby lethargic car sales the loss of Sexton Chevrolet and Manteca Dodge, as well as Mervyn’s closure.

Manteca’s retail position is expected to be strengthened further when the first outlet stores at The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley open later this spring.

Manteca bridged an $11.4 million budget shortfall for the current fiscal year by cutting back expenditures and using $6 million in bonus bucks collected from home builders for sewer allocation certainty.