Development booms again in Mountain House
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Jan 25, 2013 | 7439 views | 6 6 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Construction on the rise
A crane operator lifts a section of wall into place for a house being built on Esplanade Drive in Mountain House on Tuesday, Jan. 15.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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MOUNTAIN HOUSE — The sounds of saws and hammers are on the rise as the local housing market enjoys a robust rebound, breaking years of silence.

Layne Marceau, president of Shea Homes, which oversees the day-to-day operation of the Mountain House master plan, said “positive signs” began in late 2011, setting the stage for a strong housing market in 2012.

Builders are also buying previously owned homes for fixing and resale.

“It’s a great recovery that we’ve been long awaiting,” Marceau said. “There’s a lot of activity in Mountain House.”

Fewer than 130 new homes were sold during 2011; however, that number skyrocketed to more than 300 in 2012, and Marceau anticipates 2013 sales numbers will be even higher.

Stiff competition

According to Drew Jacobsen, co-owner of the Mountain House Real Estate Group, trying to find a home for sale in Mountain House is difficult, because the supply does not meet the demand.

He said resale homes that make it to market sell in the first week for prices that are 10 to 20 percent above the asking price.

“It seems a lot of people want to be out here,” said Jacobsen. “Most (homes) are sold before they are built. It’s rare to get one with a quick move-in date.”

Buyers in the town of more than 10,000 residents often find themselves with limited options, Jacobsen said.

“A lot of people will come here and look for property,” Jacobsen said. “The resale market is so competitive — only four to eight homes available at a time, and fewer short sales.”

Stark turnaround

That’s a stark contrast to just four years ago, when First American CoreLogic reported that Mountain House was awash with properties that had outstanding loan balances greater than the houses’ worth — what the industry calls “underwater mortgages.”

The Tracy Press reported in November 2008 that the community, which then consisted of about 8,000 people, had the nation’s highest per-capita rate of underwater mortgages.

But that bust is turning into a boom that is fueled by demand.

Many potential buyers who lose bidding wars on previously owned homes are opting to look at new properties, Jacobsen said. He said many choose to wait for a house to be built and pay whatever the developer is asking.

Officials said in the next year or two, six different developers will likely offer buyers eight different home styles throughout Mountain House, ranging in size from 1,800 square feet to 3,500 square feet.

Prices will depend upon the market, but someone looking to call Mountain House their home can expect to pay $320,000 to $500,000 to buy a house, depending upon the size, Marceau said.

Sweet sounds of growth

The noise of increased construction has become music to the ears of Mountain House’s elected officials.

“As long as I keep seeing foundations poured and buildings going up, I’m happy,” said Jim Lamb, vice president of the Mountain House Community Services District board. “They’re building pretty fast. As a board member, I want it to grow as fast as possible.”

“A lot of people in Tracy think Mountain House is dying or a dead project — that’s not the case,” he said. “Any growth is good growth.”

The next big Mountain House development is Neighborhood C, a 1,000-home village that occupies land near
Comments-icon Post a Comment
January 31, 2013
You are speaking for you. I'm having a battle of the witts with an unarmed participant.

No, You are wrong. Go buy one then. Better yet, buy ALL of them. You will be your best customer.
January 31, 2013
"I'm having a battle of the witts with an unarmed participant."

Then fer God's sake stop battlin with yerself before ya hurt yerself.


Seems, frum yer comments, yer attemptin ta start a fight.

Seems all he asked fer was a deeper explanation as yer comment seems ta indicate ya got some knowledge th rest might not have.

So, without all th obvious anger, can ya enlighten us on that please?

January 28, 2013
Oh Yeah, I read the article. I see it from a different perspective.If I don't have your opinion, your views, your beliefs, Evidently, you have a problem. And, just because you don't understand what I'm talking about, again, your problem.

January 29, 2013
I think it's everyone's problem because no one understands what you're talking about. You see it from a different perspective? Please enlighten us? What old money are you talking about? From who? This is not something you can claim a difference of opinion about. It's either fact or fiction. Trimark and Calpers are still around and trying to recoup their losses, but that's not going to entice builders like Lennar, Standard Pacific and Meritage to build quickly out in MH like the article is talking about. The article is saying foreclosed homes are being snatched up quickly and new homes are going fast. It's an indication that the market is improving and MH is a hot market. It's got nothing to do with 'old money'. That doesn't even make sense. It's all about new growth. All the best.
January 26, 2013
They are just fulfilling contracts that where gone into prior to this economy. This is old money. Our economy is great for some and miserable for the rest.
January 26, 2013
What the heck are you talking about? What old contracts? Did you miss the part where they were talking about foreclosed homes? This article is about how demand is up for homes in MH and in general the area compared to not long ago. It's a positive article. Not sure what you mean by old money or old contracts, most of the new homes they are building are being built by new builders too. That last line about great for some doesn't even make any sense, but I guess I shouldn't expect more from you. All the best.

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