New home construction

New home construction has resumed in two Newman subdivisions. The homes pictured are in the Sherman Ranch project.

NEWMAN - New housing starts have resumed on two subdivision projects which languished following the crash of the housing market.

Homes are going up in Sherman Ranch on the city’s east side, and in a smaller subdivision near Orestimba High School.

Dale Lovelace, a sales agent for PMZ Real Estate who is the listing broker for Sherman Ranch developer SCM Homes, said construction started last fall and the first buyers have moved in to their new homes.

The project had been idle for approximately three years while the builder waited for the market to recover sufficiently to justify new home construction, Lovelace noted.

“The prices are quite a bit lower than they were at the top of the market, but they are at a point where we can justify building,” the agent explained. “We have seen a pretty good price appreciation from the bottom. I think we are going to have measured increases and a healthy market for the next year or two.”

About 130 lots remained in Sherman Ranch when the builder started construction. Three distinctly different product lines are being planned, Lovelace said recently.

They include:

• The remaining nine lots in SCM’s Classics product line. The three-and four-bedroom homes range in size from 2,089 to 2,378 square feet and are priced from approximately $265,000 to $277,000, according to Lovelace. All nine are either sold or under construction. Only three remain unsold, he said.

• The builder’s Heritage Collection, which range from a 1,680-square-foot model in the $220,000 range to a 2,440-square-foot floor plan that sells for just under $270,000. Lovelace said the builder has 56 lots for those plans. Seven are under construction or sold.

• A revised version of the higher-density Park Villas line. Those changes shift the remaining 70 or so lots in that community to single-story floor plans of 1,000 to 1,300 square feet. Construction has not yet started. Lovelace said the units, which are two- and three-bedrooms, will be priced in the low to mid-$100,000 range.

He said buyer interest is steady, but far short of the frenzy seen when the housing market was soaring.

“When things were just white-hot, we were doing 16 a month,” Lovelace said of sales. “Now we are probably two to three a month, which is healthy. We are still seeing a lot of demand, and now we are coming into the good selling season.”

Lovelace said he believes soaring increases in Bay Area housing costs will again prompt people to look to the valley for more affordable options - but also notes that he is seeing interest from Newman residents in the market to buy as well.

“From the start we have had pretty good interest,” he reported.

Across town, new homes are also under construction in the subdivision recorded as Monte Vista Estates, which is located between Fig Lane and Hardin Road at the north edge of the city.

City staff said the builder is Chowchilla-based WPD Homes.

The subdivision numbers a total of 40 homes, City Planner Stephanie Ocasio said. Eight were built by a previous developer and three are currently under construction, she told Mattos Newspapers.