No one was perhaps as surprised as executives with Pulte Homes that Manteca was where their first Del Webb at Woodbridge community in Northern San Joaquin Valley would be built.
Pulte Homes owns the Del Webb brand. They noted at the ground-breaking for the 1,406-home community 11 years ago that they conducted surveys of potential Bay Area buyers of where they’d be interested in living in a Del Webb community. They were surprised when Manteca came up as the first choice by a wide margin.
Conducting follow up interviews they found Manteca has strong name recognition for those Bay Area residents that traveled to the Sierra and Yosemite. It was also perceived as a place they could stay close to the Bay Area and easily access cultural events and visit families and friends as well.
Today Del Webb is down to its final nine lots for sale in the northwest Manteca neighborhood with home prices ranging from $426,930 to $585,421. That includes homes that will be built on land where the sales pavilion is now being torn down.
The decade it took to sell most of its homes that could only be bought by households where one resident has to be 55 years or older was without a doubt the Del Webb Decade in Manteca.
Good timing for Manteca
What was perhaps bad timing for Pulte Homes was good timing for Manteca as the first homes started going up as the housing bubble started to burst.
Because Del Webb is aimed at households nearing retirement or already retired who tend to have middle class wealth, home sales continued while they fizzled elsewhere. The annual sales pace wasn’t exactly what Pulte initially projected but it was enough when coupled with the city’s development agreements with standard single family home builders that created a situation of sewer allocation certainty prompting banks to fund improving lots in bigger chunks for Manteca to keep building and selling homes.
During a five-year stretch that covered the plunge and the trough of the housing crisis, Manteca was building roughly 300 housing units a year. That was more than was built in all of the combined jurisdictions of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Merced counties during any of those five years stretching from 2006 to 2010. And during those years Del Webb consistently built roughly a third of all new homes sold in Manteca.
The infusion of Del Webb consumer dollars at the time along with two other concerns opening just as the Great Recession hit — Bass Pro Shops with its 100-mile draw for sales tax and Costco that brought sales tax leakage to Modesto and Stockton back to town as well as lured consumer dollars from Lathrop and Ripon — helped sales tax grow while it was backsliding in nearby cities. Both Bass Shops along with Orchard Valley as well as Costco were landed by Manteca through the use of sales tax sharing deals.
Del Webb played a key role in helping soften the recession’s impact on jobs in the Manteca retail, service, and restaurant sectors.
Del Webb also was a first for Manteca in terms of it being part of a planned unit development (PUD) similar to the 1,532-home Griffin Park project being advanced south of Woodward Avenue west of Main Street. AKF Development overall processed neighborhoods for 1,960 homes as well as commercial and apartments straddling Union Road north of Lathrop Road as one overall plan. The east side of the PUD was developed by Atherton Homes and another builder with traditional single family homes. During the sluggish housing years as much as a fifth of the Union Ranch homes, based on information provided by sales consultants at the time, were being bought by couples from the Bay Area. That included those that looked at Del Webb but decided it was too restrictive who fell in love with Manteca and the adult children of new Del Webb residents.
Del Webb buyers
public safety endowment
Del Webb homebuyers — as well as those purchasing in Union Ranch — paid “bonus bucks” for sewer allocations on homes they bought that went to the public safety endowment fund. The $7 million in that fund allowed Manteca to partially staff the fourth fire station in the middle of the recession as well as restore the Manteca Police Department’s four member gang unit at a critical juncture when gang-related crime appeared to be getting out of control.
During a June 2011 council meeting when the city was wrestling with ways to keep its general fund whole, several Del Webb residents pointed out that those who lived in the age-restricted community paid more in taxes than a typical household. That claim touched off a spirited exchange.
The Bulletin followed up the discussion by comparing new home sales. At the time Valley Blossom — a Florsheim Homes development in southwest Manteca — were selling a 1,613-square-foot model dubbed The Jasmine starting at $194,900. That compared to a 1,615-square-foot Del Webb home called the Chesterfield that was available starting at $281,000. Keep in mind Florsheim was the most aggressive new Manteca home builder in terms of price point and keeping square footage down to make them affordable at the time while Del Webb homes tended to be loaded with what would be options in most other developments.
The owner of the Valley Blossom home in 2011 was paying $1,940 a year in straight property taxes compared to the Del Webb buyer at $2,810. Of that, the city’s share of the property taxes was $232 from the Valley Blossom homeowner and $337 from the Del Webb homeowner. The city’s general fund for 2011 came to $346 per capita based on $29.3 million divided by 69,000 residents at the time. A typical Del Webb home had an average of just under two people per household. Using a 1.8 person per household yield, it comes to $623 for the cost of city services. The yield rate for homes with young families was much larger coming in at around 2.6 persons in 2011 meaning that the Valley Blossom home — on average — generated an $899 a year demand for municipal services.
Those municipal services are police, fire, streets and parks. Garbage, water, and sewer are paid through users fees.
The bottom line in terms of averages in 2011 meant the typical Del Webb homeowner was covering all but $177 of their “fair share” while the Valley Blossom homeowner covered all except $667 of their “fair share.”
Both developments pay for their own park maintenance. Del Webb buyers didn’t pay a school mitigation fee as they yielded no children but then again they don’t impact schools.
Factor in sales tax on local expenditures and Del Webb homeowners do something that other homeowners don’t do in most cases which is coming close to paying for their “fair share” of general fund services
Of course, there are arguments that Del Webb residents access fire services for medical emergencies at a higher rate.
That said, Del Webb resident pull their weight much better, on average, than many other households in Manteca.
Del Webb residents
swell ranks of volunteers
Manteca had been lauded for years of having more volunteers and people with open wallets than communities of similar size. Del Webb residents stepped up to the plate as well.
Del Webb at Woodbridge residents have helped swell the ranks of volunteers involved with Seniors Helping Area Residents and Police, Seniors Aiding Fire Effort, Give Every Child a Chance, the Second Harvest Food Bank, and more. They have even stepped up to help with the Boys & Girls Club annual telethon.
They also have raised considerable money in support of nearby East Union High even though there are no students generated from the neighborhood. One Del Webb-based group — The Lugnuts of Woodbridge — has raised more than $60,000 over the past 10 years to help support the Second Harvest Food Bank.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail email@example.com