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New home buyers: Theyre back
Up to $18K in tax credits helps triple pace of Manteca sales
Atherton Homes Director of Sales Kathy Hammons answers questions Saturday from Ralph and Mary Donges inside “The Ridge” model home at the Summit Collection at Union Ranch. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Tax incentives that could put as much as $18,000 back into the pockets of new homebuyers are getting credit for a significant increase in new home sales in Manteca.

Atherton Homes – the leading Manteca building of non age-restricted homes – has tripled their sales volume in the past few weeks. Kathy Hammons, the firm’s sales director, isn’t exactly breaking out the champagne but after a completely flat January and coming off 2008 when Atherton Homes sold a home a week having three homes go into contract in a week is a big thing. The only builder who sold more new homes in Manteca in 2008 was Pulte Homes’ Del Webb at Woodbridge community for those 55 and older.

“I think it is finally getting through to people about how good a time this is to buy a home,” Hammons said.

The resale market – thanks to foreclosures – has now reached a point where the prices of homes are where they should be if they simply were adjusted for inflation on an annual basis since 1991. University of the Pacific economist Jeffrey Michael offered a chart that showed resale housing has now dropped back in line with inflation over the past 17 years during a seminar offering at outlook on the San Joaquin County’s housing market.

In many cases, foreclosures are selling below the price of what it would cost to build the homes.

That has made it tough for new home builders to compete – until now.

The state is offering buyers of new homes a $10,000 tax credit while the $10 million set aside lasts. Also, anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the past three years is eligible for an $8,000 federal tax credit through the end of 2009. Tax credits, unlike tax deductions, is a dollar amount that if it wipes out your tax obligation for that year results in the balance being sent to you in the form of a government check.

That isn’t all. Interest rates are close to an historical low in the mid 5 percent range while the FHA has upped the loan limit to $488,000. FHA requires 3.5 percent down payments as opposed to conventional loans that are now requiring between 10 and 20 percent.

Making it even sweeter for new home buyers are incentives being offered for the grand opening of Atherton Homes’ Summit Collection at Union Ranch through April 15.

They are offering $10,000 to buyers who go through the Atherton Homes’ mortgage lender that essentially goes to closing costs. There are also $10,000 in additional upgrades that are being offered as an incentive.

Atherton also is offering lower prices for the ground opening period. The base price of the smallest floor plan that has 2,121 square feet with three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and a two-car garage in a single floor plan is now at $324,999 – down $20,000.

The extremely popular Pinnacle – that has a Casita off a protected front court yard that can be used as separate living quarters complete with master bedroom set-up and living area with fireplace – is now available for $414,000.  The base model has 3,844 square feet, four bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, a three-car garage with a tandem set-up plus extra work space, and wine room.

“A buyer who qualifies for all of the tax credits and goes through Atherton Homes’ lender can get $28,000 toward their purchase plus $10,000 in Atherton Home incentives,” Hammons said.

The lowering of the FHA loan limit means that the majority of the seven home plans at Summit Collection can go FHA.

New home sales in Manteca numbered 220 last year while resale homes hit a record 1,165. Of those, 85 percent were foreclosures.

There have been 213 homes sold so far this year on the Manteca resale market in Manteca for a pace that matches 2008’s record setting year.

The federal $8,000 tax credit can also be used to buy a resale home while the California tax credit can’t be used.

The Atherton Homes sales office is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 2517 Edgebrook Lane. To reach the office, take Union Road north of Lathrop Road to the first traffic signal. Turn right at the signal – across from the entrance to Del Webb Woodbridge – and travel to the first left turn (The models in front are Woodside Homes, not Atherton Homes.) Turn left and follow the signs.

The office number is 824-2081.