http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2012/08/03/home-building-is-back-in-pleasanton


Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - August 3, 2012

Home building is back in Pleasanton

There's good news in the housing market, both here, in California and in much of the country. As we report today on our Real Estate pages, home sales experienced solid gains in June and home prices reached their highest level since August 2010 in California. June sales rose 8.5% from June 2011's revised 478,040 pace with the median home price posting both month-over-month and year-over-year gains for the fourth consecutive month. Interest rates continued their downward trend in June, with 30-year fixed-mortgage interest rates averaging 3.68%, down from 3.80% in May and 4.51% in June 2011. Nationwide, housing production rose by 6.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 760,000 units in June. This is the fastest pace of new-home construction since October 2008.

Here in the East Bay, luxury home sales jumped 19% in June and the median sale price edged higher as the high-end market continued to gain momentum. A new report by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Pleasanton shows that a total of 189 homes sold for more than $1 million in June, up sharply from the 159 properties that changed hands a year ago. Last month's sales were also up 6.7% from May when 177 luxury homes sold.

High-end homes also sold at a faster pace in June, with properties selling in 43 days on average compared to 49 a year ago. And sellers received 100.1% of their asking price on average compared to 99.3% last year. At the same time, the median sale price for a luxury home is edging up, reaching $1,285,000 in June, up 2% from May and up fractionally from a year ago, when the median price stood at $1,275,000.

Pleasanton led the region with the most expensive sale, a six-bedroom, seven-bath, 9,821-square-foot home that sold for $3.25 million. Alamo boasted the most luxury sales with 25, followed by Danville with 23, Fremont with 21, Pleasanton with 19, and Oakland and Orinda with 16 apiece.

The East Bay's luxury market is expected to continue gaining strength as the year goes along. As with other luxury markets in the Bay Area, including San Francisco and Silicon Valley, there just aren't enough listings to meet the demand of well-qualified buyers.

To meet that pent-up demand, developers are back in Pleasanton for the first time in several years, building new homes on the east and south sides of the city. Ponderosa Homes, Lehman and Selway are subdividing a 16-acre site located between Trenery Drive and Cameron Avenue into 29 separate sites for new home construction. The plan calls for construction of a new loop street, Cameron Place, which will tie into Cameron Avenue at both ends. Cameron Avenue will be reconstructed to create a curvilinear alignment to curb speeding.

Ponderosa has received city approval to complete the last phase of its Ironwood active adult community near Busch Road and Valley Avenue. The developer will subdivide what is now a 23.1-acre site into 110 single family home lots on the north side of the city's Operations Service Center. As part of the gated Ironwood adult development, the new homes will be offered to those 55 years of age and older.

Under construction are another 18 luxury homes being built by Toll Brothers on Vineyard Avenue just east of a 13-acre site owned by the Pleasanton school district. At one time, the site was planned as the home of the district's 10th elementary school, which was never built. Homes in the Toll Brothers project are expected to be similar in size and cost to those recently built in surrounding neighborhoods. Those homes sold in the $1 million and $2 million price range.

With construction soon to start on 650 high density apartment units in the Hacienda Business Park and another 350 approved near the Dublin-Pleasanton West BART station, the renewal of home and apartment building in Pleasanton is good news for a city that relies on property tax revenue for much of its revenue.

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