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Sunday, May 29, 2011

San Diego: Home Builders opening more communities for sale

by Calculated Risk on 5/29/2011 05:40:00 PM

From Eric Wolff at the North County Times: HOUSING: Builders feeling hopeful, opening lots for sale

The North San Diego County and Southwest Riverside County housing markets are glutted with bank-owned houses and short sales, which put a drag on local house prices. ... Yet builders opened 18 new communities in San Diego County in the first three months of 2011, five more than in the same period of 2010, and 16 opened in Riverside County, six more than during the same period last year, according to MarketPointe Realty Advisers.
Builders have also been able to slash costs: Many have laid off staff and found ways to become more efficient, and they're able to take advantage of reduced prices from contractors desperate to stay in business. ... Developers acquired unfinished communities at fire-sale prices from banks and desperate sellers.
"Every piece of property that we've bought in the last two years has been a distressed sale of some kind or another," said Brent Anderson, vice president for investor relations for Meritage. "All of these communities we're buying ---- they're distressed assets we're picking up for pennies on the dollar."

Cheap land, along with stiff competition among contractors, allows builders to slash their selling prices.
I've talked to builders in some other areas who are able to compete with distressed home pricing based on a combination of cheaper land prices, lower labor costs and also building smaller homes. (note: Eric didn't mention house size in his article).

These are still quite a few distressed homes available, but they don't appeal to every buyer. Perhaps the homes are too large, too beat up, or just too difficult to buy (short sales) - so there is still a market for new homes. I doubt this indicates a significant increase in new home construction, although we might see a little pick up later this year in a few areas as the local excess supply continues to shrink.

Yesterday ...
Summary for Week Ending May 27th
Schedule for Week of May 29th