People are clamoring for more on the La Costa Town Square:

Arterro is the name of the Davidson tract. From their website:

Located off Rancho Santa Fe Road just east of La Costa Avenue, Arterro is a 22-acre residential element of La Costa Town Square, a planned 285,000-square-foot shopping center being developed by the Safeway division on 83 acres.

“A big plus for our homeowners is the ability to walk to several markets and other specialty services,” said Davidson, who noted that the anchor tenant is a 60,000 square foot Von’s store. La Costa Town Square is scheduled to open in mid-2014.

Arterro is on track for a Early 2014 opening.


Zero Energy

Hat tip to ocrenter who sent this in from Bloomberg – a prototype new home that generates its own energy that they think they can sell for around $250,000:

The youtube remarks are somewhat critical of the idea – you still have to purchase the natural gas to run the ‘powercell’, so can you sell enough excess electricity back to the grid to cover?

They talk about systems, but didn’t flat out say that these are modular homes.  They show the prototype house being stick-built towards the end of the video, but isn’t the natural progression to build the houses off-site and deliver?

And when is ocrenter going to make a comeback?

Estate Four

This is the full tour of the ADM 6,235 sf Plan 4 model home, without all the people around.

The staff recognizes that this is the Big Kahuna, the pinnacle of many careers to bring this tract to market.  Those selling it will never have another opportunity like this, and expect to take three years to sell the 107 houses and 29 homesites.

The Plan Fours start at $2.2 million:

Premium Upgrading

Amir and Mojgan Moghadam spent $1.4 million on their new home in Irvine, Calif.  But to make it absolutely perfect, they spent a further $550,000 on builder upgrades—including $28,200 for a conservatory, $2,600 for a Sub-Zero ice maker and $495 for five exterior wall-light outlets.

Buying a newly built home is a lot like buying a new car at the dealership—optional features cost extra. Buyers will pay more for premium granite, a fancier fridge or an epoxy-coated garage floor. And upgrades can be a lucrative part of a builder’s business, with profit margins as high as 60%, depending on the option, according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting.


Indeed, buyers like the Moghadams are helping builders return to profitability after a long downturn. During the housing boom, homes were loaded with expensive features, and buyers snapped them up, regardless of price. These days, however, upscale buyers are choosier, selecting pricey options that are within their budgets and still practical for the resale market. An estimated 10% to 30% of a home’s base price is spent on upgrades. And companies say these optional features have been spurring growth in high-end home construction.

Record-low interest rates are driving much of this spending, with a 30-year, fixed-rate average of 3.68% for conforming loans, which are below $417,000 in most markets, or 4.13% for larger loans, according to HSH.com, a mortgage-research website.

Monica Kaiser, for instance, added nearly $70,000 worth of upgrades to the $1 million-plus San Diego home she and her husband purchased in December. The Kaisers decided to spend the money now—instead of later—for the upgrades they wanted. The Kaisers opted for a $10,000 staircase with wrought-iron balusters and nearly $4,500 for tile and stonework in the home’s 4½ bathrooms, along with other features from builder Standard Pacific.

“With interest rates so low, you’re not going to be able to get what you want any cheaper at any time,” says Ms. Kaiser, a mother of three who works for local media outlet. “To put a lot of these upgrades in down the line would have just been silly, because we’d be paying more to take out a loan or dipping into other assets.”

WSJ_02152013_NA_2_Section M_M6_P_v0-proofSome builders present buyers with thousands of choices that let them build a near-custom home that won’t resemble anything else in their community.  Customizing a home can make a customer less likely to cancel the deal. “They’re emotionally attached to what they have designed,” says Joan Marcus-Colvin, senior vice president of sales, marketing and design for the New Home Co. “They have actually pictured themselves living in that surrounding.”

In the past decade, builders have increasingly been allowing buyers to pick favorite items through a website or app. Buyers can almost think of it like a game: They choose options to build their dream homes, then add or delete items as the budget permits.

“It was like I was going to the store,” says Ms. Moghadam, the Irvine, Calif., buyer of the New Home Co. house. “I would sit on my iPad and I would just pick out all the options I liked: cabinets, sinks, hardware, faucets. You could just do it at home and have fun with it.”

The most money is usually spent on kitchens, bathrooms and flooring, according to BDX, the marketing-services and technology company behind the Envision online design center that helps customers select options. Buyers upgrade flooring 73% of the time, cabinets 70% and appliances 63%, the company says.

One upgrade tends to hold its value: land. Former NFL player Michael Hamilton decided to build a new Standard Pacific home in San Diego after seeing a roughly half-acre lot with views of coastal sage shrub and other native plants near 1,600 acres of preserved open space.

Premium lots in the upscale Bellasario at Stonebridge Estates community cost up to $215,000 above the neighborhood’s $900,000 base price. The upgraded lot gave Mr. Hamilton room for another upgrade, a $100,000 backyard cottage for guests. “I wanted that lot and I wanted the casita,” he said, adding that “I wish I would have gotten a couple more upgrades.”

Hat tip to Profhoff for sending this in from wsj.com:

The model of the house Hamilton bought:

New-Home Market

From the wsj.com:

Six years after the U.S. housing market tumbled into the abyss, demand for brand-new homes is picking up. Sales are on the rise, and prices in many areas are inching higher.

The bad news for buyers: The new market environment means less discounting, fewer incentives and, in some cases, longer waits for homes. But there are several steps you can take to be a better shopper—from choosing amenities judiciously to waiting until a home is partially built before pulling the trigger on a deal.

To be sure, the housing recovery is still in its infancy, with credit tight and sales and prices well below historical levels. Rising interest rates, an uptick in the supply of foreclosed homes or a weakening economy all could crimp sales.

But after years of retrenching, builders have whittled down their stockpiles greatly, and are being cautious about bringing new homes to market. The inventory of unsold new homes now stands at 144,000, down from a peak of 575,000 in July 2006, the Commerce Department reports.

At the current sales pace, that’s a 4.9 month supply of new homes; six months is considered a balanced market, says NAHB chief economist David Crowe.


Income-Producing 39 Acres

My new listing in Vista!

An active, income-producing ranch now, bringing in around $100,000 per year, with huge potential.

Subdivide the lower half into 19 homesites (developers are offering to pay $5 million over time to do it for you), harvest the 10,000 palm trees that are worth approximately $1,000,000 wholesale, and then keep the upper portion of 19+ acres for yourself.

Only $2,950,000!

The sellers want to cash out now, for tax reasons.

Alta Del Mar

Thanks to the reader HomeBuyer for the alert:

Pardee has changed their website, and is promoting the old Shaw Lorenz tract in Carmel Valley’s Del Mar Mesa area as “Alta Del Mar”.

They are calling it, “The last, and unquestionably, most desirable address in coastal San Diego.”


No prices are listed, but they have “Estate Homes” and “Custom Homesites” buttons.

The Plan 4 has a 1,700sf master suite, so its overall square footage must be 5,000sf-plus.  The custom lots are “averaging nearly a half acre”, which sounds smaller than anticipated.  We’ve been figuring that the houses should be similar to those at nearly Derby Hill, but we’ll see.

I think the initial teaser pricing will be around $1.25 million or so, though most should end up closer to $2,000,000 or higher.  Of the four floor plans, the first two are single-story.

They pay commissions to agents who accompany buyers on their first visit to the sales office.

If you want to discuss the benefits of having me represent you as your agent, give me a call or email.  (858) 560-7700 or jim@jimklinge.com

Thank you!

Tom T’s Foundation Work

Here’s a look at the construction of Tom Tarrant’s raised foundation for his South Park Spec House in San Diego – coming November 2012.

“We dug the footings with a mini excavator, built the forms with wood, tied in over 4000 feet of rebar and then pumped in 50 yards of 3000 psi concrete. Some of the footings were 6 feet deep to ensure this new house wont slide down the canyon. To see more cool renovations and house flipping, check out my blog!” http://www.tomtarrant.com

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