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Mini-boom for bigger homes
Six 4,000-square-foot plus homes sell in 2 months
Atherton Homes Director of Sales Kathy Hammons talks about homes at the Summit Collection at Union Ranch. - photo by HIME ROMERO
It took Atherton Homes 2 ½ years to sell four homes larger than 4,000 square feet.

But since the start of December the Manteca builder has sold six of The Pinnacle models in the Summit Collection at Union Ranch. The Pinnacle goes up to 4,041 square feet of living space. Atherton Homes is the only builder in Manteca currently building homes larger than 4,000 square feet.

“Interest has picked up considerably in the larger models,” said Atherton Homes Director of Sales Kathy Hammons.

She noted that the Union Ranch neighborhood is a post-market collapse development. That means there are no foreclosures and no investors and that means no renters.

The demands for new home sales is prompting Atherton Homes to break ground this spring on streets, sewer and water lines, and other infrastructure for the next Union Ranch unit of 61 lots. Nine of the 61 lots already have holds on them.

Both are encouraging signs for the housing market. Manteca went nearly four years without any builder investing in infrastructure to create new lots until Del Webb at Woodbridge did so last summer for additional homes for the age-restricted community.

Atherton Homes is the second Manteca builder to announce they will be moving earth this spring. Florsheim Homes plans to create 44 more buildable lots this spring in the Valley Blossom neighborhood southwest of Airport Way and the 120 Bypass.

Three years ago Manteca has an inventory of 940 buildable lots with the entire infrastructure already in place from underground power lines, streets, sewer and water lines, sidewalks, and other utilities to storm drains. That inventory is ready to drop below the 500 mark.

The Pinnacle at 4,041 square feet and starting at $399,990 is the largest home now being built in Manteca while Valley Blossom offers the smallest home being built in Manteca with 1,286 square feet starting at $169,900. The lowest-priced Atherton Homes model has 1,877 square feet starting at $297,990.

The large Summit Collection home is arguably an anti-McMansion with its floor plan with a “casita” designed as separate living quarters off the entry courtyard for grandparents. Virtually every Pinnacle sold has the casita option that replaces the office/living room that is part of the standard design. The rest of the four bedroom, 4.5 bathroom home has a design that is in a decidedly classic look with a floor plan designed to accommodate families with style.

The homes are about 200 square feet smaller than the large rectangular houses built in the Heritage Ranch neighborhood south and east of  Joshua Cowell School in East Manteca by Seeno homes. The 4,336-square-foot homes peaked at $750,000 before the housing market nose dived. At the absolute bottom of the upper end market in Manteca, a seven bedroom and four bathroom version of that home in the 600 block of Vasconcellos Avenue closed escrow for $285,000 in the spring of 2009.

Hammons also noted they are now seeing a 50-50 split between Bay Area buyers and those who are from this side of the Altamont Pass. During the housing frenzy close to 90 percent of all new home buyers were from the Bay Area. That flipped during the depths of the housing retreat with valley buyers being dominate.

The Summit Collection sales office is located on Edgebrook Lane accessed by turning right off Union Road at the traffic signal at the entrance of Del Webb at Woodbridge north of Lathrop Road.