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Shortage of new Manteca homes?
Builders say demand growing fast than lot availability
A framer works on the roofs in the Standard Pacific subdivision in East Manteca on Friday. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Get ready for a housing shortage.

As implausible as it may sound Manteca new home builders are predicting they won’t be able to meet demand later this year.

The reason is simple. Buyer demand in Manteca is increasing at a rate that’s too fast to bring ready-to-build lots online. That is also why builder confidence nationwide has fallen even though new home sales are at their strongest in over six years.

The National Association of Home Builders builder sentiment index has dipped in the past two months not because of a weak market but the fact demand is exceeding supplies of ready-to-build lots, building materials, and workers.

Manteca home builder Bill Filios sees the shortage popping up sometime this summer.

His assessment of the market - that Manteca won’t be able to meet demand although he expects some 300 homes will be built and sold this year - is echoed by several other builders. The 300-home pace would match the last four years in Manteca. The city has been the new home building leader in the Northern San Joaquin Valley since the start of The Great Recession.

Based on a tightening market in the Bay Area where demand is already outpacing building, Filios foresees Manteca hitting the 500-home mark for new home construction in 2014.

It takes between four to six months to go from raw land to build-able lots.

Manteca - excluding Del Webb at Woodbridge where the sales age restricted to those 55 and older - has just over 100 ready-to-build lots left. That’s a long way from 954 - the left over inventory from the building boom - that Manteca had available just three years ago.

Manteca in January and February issued building permits for 61 new homes About a third were for Del Webb. And while some builders such as Atherton Home have already started work on new lots, there still won’t be enough to meet all of the anticipated demand this year.

It is why Stone Creek properties obtained City Council permission this past week to start constructing public improvements for the 89-lot Blossom Grove neighborhood before a final map is approved. The land is now planted in almond trees.

Blossom Grove - originally known as Silva Estates - involves taking out an almond orchard southeast of Union Road and Woodward Avenue. Pagola Avenue - which runs past Veritas School and into one of the entrance streets to The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley - will be extended south into Blossom Grove.

Raymus Homes is also planning to move forward this fall with the first phase of the 540-home Oleander Estates straddling Woodward Avenue to the west of Union Road.

The 61 new homes started in the first two months of this year average 2,820 square feet. That’s almost exactly double the square footage of typical homes built in Manteca during 2007 when new home sales plummeted to their lowest point in 20 years.