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Methane in Chula Vista

Hat tip to Richard for sending this in:

Methane and volatile chemicals such as benzene have been discovered underground at a yet-to-be completed Otay Ranch project that is marketed as one of the largest planned housing developments in the U.S.

Homebuyers in the Chula Vista community known as Village of Escaya can’t move into their homes because government officials have stopped installation of water meters.

inewsource is the first to report on the discovery, though contractors first noticed the potential problem in April. Water sampling began the following month and the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health was alerted in June.

“The district is doing its due diligence to make sure that they’re evaluating the situation,” Otay Water District spokeswoman Tenille Otero said Friday.

The Otay Water District provides water and wastewater service to nearly a quarter-million customers in San Diego County. It typically takes responsibility for a developer’s work, including pipes and facilities, once a project is completed. In this case, the district is refusing to install water meters within the 450-acre development until the problems with the methane and other chemicals are resolved.

Other agencies involved include the Chula Vista Development Services Department and Chula Vista Elementary School District, as well as several private companies.

The land’s developer, Carlsbad-based HomeFed Corp., is marketing nearly 1,000 homes in an area adjacent to the Otay Landfill, auto-salvage yards and the country’s largest producer of construction aggregates. According to HomeFed’s most recent quarterly report, 165 homes were under contract to close within Escaya as of Oct. 24.

HomeFed’s president and chief executive officer, Paul Borden, told inewsource on Friday the discovery of methane and other volatile compounds is not unusual in California.

“It’s going to be dealt with absolutely the way it should be dealt with,” Borden said, adding that HomeFed is working out mitigation measures with the water district. The matter will be resolved “very soon,” he said.

Borden said homebuyers also have been alerted to the issue.

“Among the many many things that are disclosed, this is definitely one of them,” he said.

Read full article here:


Posted by on Dec 12, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Local Flavor | 7 comments

NSDCC November Sales

Much like in the last presidential election cycle of 2012, the November, 2016 sales were high, and led to a frenzied selling season the following spring (we had 4% more NSDCC sales in 1H17 than in 1H16).  But sales were solid last month too, which hopefully means Spring 2018 will be lively.

NSDCC November Sales

# of Sales
Avg. $$/sf
Median Sales Price
Median DOM

This is only one-month’s worth of data, but these stats suggest that pricing may have topped off, and we’re finding an equilibrium.  The average $$/sf and median sales price from last month are closer to those from 2015 than 2016.

It’s interesting that the median days-on-market is almost half of what it was five years ago!  There’s not much hesitation in buyers these days.

Posted by on Dec 12, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Conditions, North County Coastal, Sales and Price Check | 2 comments

Leaving Town

As home prices continue to escalate, the less-affluent folks are considering other options.  Will the imbalance catch up with us eventually?  If so, when?

Hat tip to daytrip for sending this in:


An excerpt:

Jonas Peterson enjoyed the California lifestyle and trips to the beach while living in Valencia with his wife, a nurse, and their two young kids. But in 2013, he answered a call to head the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, and the family moved to Henderson, Nev.

“We doubled the size of our house and lowered our mortgage payment,” said Peterson, whose wife is focusing on the kids now instead of her career.

Part of Peterson’s job is to lure companies to Nevada, a state that runs on gaming money rather than tax dollars.

“There’s no corporate income tax, no personal income tax…and the regulatory environment is much easier to work with,” said Peterson.

Some companies have made the move from California, and others have set up satellites in Nevada. California, a world economic power, will survive the raids, and it will continue to draw people from other states and around the world. Its assets include cutting-edge tech and entertainment industries, major ports, great weather and dozens of first-rate universities.

But the Golden State is tarnished and ever-more divided by a crisis with no end in sight, and this year’s legislative efforts to spawn more housing for working people lacked urgency and scale. Slowly, steadily, and somewhat indifferently, we are burdening, breaking and even exporting our middle class.

Read full article here:


Posted by on Dec 11, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Buzz, Market Conditions | 12 comments

Inventory Watch

In an area of 300,000+ people, we only have TEN houses for sale priced under $800,000 – and there are only 118 priced between $800,000 and $1,400,000!

Is it greed, or just supply and demand? It would take something to disrupt the market to find out.  Buyers are already wondering about tax reform, and this could be a hurdle too – the Trump/Mueller saga. Protests are already being planned:

Read More

Posted by on Dec 11, 2017 in Inventory, Jim's Take on the Market | 11 comments

Appraisers’ Opinion of Appreciation

Appraisers in Southern California get together and evaluate the same 300 homes every six months – here’s how their values compare to those of CoreLogic (San Diego has the closest gap):


An excerpt:

Elsewhere in the region, here’s how the battle-of-the-index gaps shaped up since 2012 …

Los Angeles County: Appraisers say up 58 percent; CoreLogic says 72 percent.

Orange County: Appraisers say up 44 percent; CoreLogic says 55 percent.

San Diego County: Appraisers say up 50 percent; CoreLogic says 56 percent.

Ventura County: Appraisers say up 45 percent; CoreLogic says 53 percent.

Now, these gaps may partially be a reflection of the often-bemoaned shortage of “affordable” homes to buy.

Southern California’s painfully thin supply of homes at the lower-end of the price spectrum has distorted indexes like CoreLogic’s median. These metrics end up reflecting a buyer’s willingness to pay up for the higher-priced housing that’s on the market. This statistical pattern doesn’t mean all home values are up at the median’s skyward pace.

Yes, it’s not totally shocking these appreciation gaps — man-vs.-machine — exist in the first place. Remember, appraisers get paid to be real estate’s party poopers — protecting overzealous lenders from overlending on overvalued properties.

So by nature, appraisers are … let’s say … skimpy! Still, their cautious viewpoint can’t be easily ignored, since they often have the power to kill a prospective home purchase with a low valuation.

Plus, the collective wisdom of appraisers is especially noteworthy as Southern California’s eye-catching home-price gains continue.


Posted by on Dec 10, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Sales and Price Check | 4 comments