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Manteca on track to have 101,614 residents by 2030 thanks to housing market dynamics
raymus homes
One of the 5,667 homes — almost all located in Manteca — that Raymus Homes has built in the last 77 years in 96 different neighborhoods.

There were 1,614 residents in Manteca in 1930.

The odds are great the city will add a one and a zero in front of that number in 2030 for a population of 101,614.

Manteca can reach that number even if its growth slows down a bit.

Manteca in 2022, with a growth rate of 2.19 percent, added 2,019 residents according to the state Department of Finance.

The city’s population was 88,803 at the start of this year. If the last seven years of this decade are a carbon copy of the numeric gain of 2,019 in 2022, Manteca will be sitting at 102,878 residents on Jan. 1, 2030.  

The forces pushing Manteca’s growth are also at work elsewhere in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

But nowhere else are they as intense as along the asphalt ribbon that begins with the start of Interstate 205 just east of the Alameda  County line and where the 120 Bypass meets up with Highway 99.

The four cities — Mountain House Tracy, Lathrop, and Manteca — are a  collective trend of their own when it comes to California.

Technically, Mountain House isn’t a city — yet.

The odds are strong its residents will vote to make it the county’s eighth incorporated city within the next few years given its growth and the fact its has a unique per square foot tax on  homes and other development that makes it economically viable to support urban level services.

There are now 250,000 residents in the 18 miles between Mountain House in the west and Manteca in the east.

The four communities are the promised land of home — and now apartment — developers.

Between the four communities, there are more than 25,000 housing units in various stages of the development pipeline. It is enough to basically add another city the size of Manteca today to the south San Joaquin County region.

Unlike most of California, the four communities haven’t lost population in the last four years. The other notable exception is Southern California’s Inland Empire consisting of San Bernadino and Riverside counties.

Contrary to popular belief, Interstate 10 and Interstate 80 aren’t in gridlock from moving vans headed for Colorado and Texas.

There has been outward migration from California. But it is a mixture of people from around the state and not just the densely populated coastal area.

Those fleeing the Bay Area and the Los Angeles Basin, for the most part, are heading inland. They often replace others that head further east.

Why this is important is simple.

*The pandemic that has led to a growth in hybrid work, still requires employees to be physically present a number of times during the work week.

*Housing prices may seem sky high here, but in the inner Bay Area there are nearing the outer edges of the stratosphere.

*The dynamics that make the Northern San Joaquin Valley the nation’s hotbed of super commuting   — those who spend at least 90 minutes traveling to work each way — have changed.

*Between being able to work at home several days a week and the difference in housing costs, some “super commuters” are reporting being $1,000 or more a month ahead of the game in overall living costs by working in the Bay Area and living east of the Altamont Pass.

It isn’t by coincidence that Mountain House, Tracy, Lathrop, and Manteca are all on — or close to — the Altamont Corridor Express.

Add in Valley Link — with planned stations in Mountain House, Tracy, River Islands at Lathrop, and Sharpe Depot in Lathrop less than a mile from northwest Manteca — to connect with BART. It doesn’t take an economist at the University of Pacific to see where the region is heading.

Toss in the coming of ACE service from Ceres to Natomas just a few miles shy of the Sacramento International Airport in the next year or so, and Manteca-Lathrop will be ground zero for what could be the Platinum Age of Rail Commuting in California.

ACE and Valley Link will meet up at the Union Pacific Railroad Wye that passes through Sharpe Depot just a half mile northwest of the Manteca Unified School District office.

Between planned  ACE upgrades and the establishment of Valley Link, Manteca-Lathrop residents will be within an hour’s rail commute of the heart of job rich areas such as San Jose-Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Oakland-Emeryville, and downtown Sacramento.

One can live in Manteca-Lathrop with its significantly lower housing prices and work in areas with higher paychecks without having to be behind the wheel in a stressful and expensive commute by auto.

That may not be news to most people, but we forget that it gives Manteca-Lathrop a stronger economic footing.

Cambay Group — arguably the shrewdest development firm in Northern California that is committed to the long game — gets it.

It is why they are planning an honest-to-goodness transit village with all the housing  and amenities that entails, at River islands in Lathrop on the Valley Link line.

On top of that, there are three significant national housing market trends that are making Manteca and Lathrop along with Tracy and Mountain House,  even more appealing to home builders.

Black Knight — a lending and mortgage analytic firm — reports about 86 percent of homeowners in the United States now have mortgages 5 percent or lower. Half of all mortgages have rates of 3.5 percent or lower.

Compare that with rates now pushing up against 7 percent.

At the same time data from Redfin shows about three in every five homeowners have moved in the last five years. That means if rates do go down, they aren’t likely to be in a hurry to move anytime soon.

It explains why there is a shortage of homes in the resale market nationwide that are available for sale.

On the rent side, analytic firms are reporting for the first time ever that rents on average are consuming more than 30 percent of household income. California has always been a much higher percentage with many apartment renters forking over 40 percent of their income  for a roof over their heads.

Such upticks will exacerbate a growing trend in  recent  years — single people and childless couples opting to keep working in the Bay Area but renting apartments in Manteca and Tracy.

Typically, they get newer digs with more amenities and a somewhat lower overall cost of living just like families that buy homes.

Hence, the seemingly sudden surge in apartment projects in Manteca..

Locally, new home building hasn’t suffered a drop-off as existing home sales. That also is pretty much a national trend as well.

Some builders such as River Islands haven’t even seen a slowdown in sales. River Islands is still on pace to sell more than 600 homes this year.

The bottom line is simple.

Manteca, Tracy, Lathrop and Mountain House have created arguably the most resilient housing market — especially for new homes — in California.

It is that way not just because of location but how the three cities — as well as San Joaquin County with Mountain House — positioned themselves with infrastructure, transportation, and land use planning.


This column is the opinion of editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at