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New Uptown Center planned for north Spring St.

by Paso Robles Daily News




A new project was approved by the city hall for the former Paso Robles Ford location at 34th and Spring Streets. The "Uptown Center" project proposes to construct 23,500 square feet of commerical buildings fronting on Spring Street. The first floor would include a 10,000 square foot grocery store occupied by local favorite La Reyna Market, and 3,200 square feet of additional commercial lease space. The second floor would provide for 10,300 square feet of lease space for office use.

In addition to the commercial project, 28 detached single family homes along with 14 attached ownership residential units would be constructed on the eastern portion of the site, with homes oriented to 34th Street and Park Street. The homes would have three bedrooms ranging in size from 1,465 to 1,605 square feet. Each unit would have the ability to have separate ownership including a one-car garage.

Real Estate Market Looking Up


San Luis Obispo County’s housing market is on the rebound. The median price — the point at which half of residences sell for more and half for less — continues to rise, sales have picked up and foreclosures have fallen. A strengthening economy has played a key role in the housing market’s comeback, and real estate will be a significant contributor toward economic growth this year, economists say.

“It’s on an upward trend,” said Jordan Levine, economist for Beacon Economics, a Los Angeles-based independent research and consulting firm.  “The economy is improving, tourism is doing well and more people are back to work, and there’s not a lot of inventory.” California traditionally suffers from an undersupply of housing, Levine added. That lack of housing supply has kept prices higher in California relative to other states, and has resulted in pent-up demand. “The supply issue is starting to express itself,” he said. “It wasn’t as big an issue when the housing market was in the doldrums. But now, it has become more obvious as demand rises.”

The unsold inventory index for San Luis Obispo County, which indicates the number of months needed to sell the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate, was 3.5 in May, according to the California Association of Realtors. A six- to seven-month supply is considered normal. But some inventory relief should come in the second half of this year, as homeowners who had been holding back decide it’s time to sell, said Leslie Appleton-Young, chief economist for the association. “There are people that are still underwater; over 20 percent of the mortgages in California are underwater,” she said. “But that’s changing rapidly as prices go up. More will be above water and will either stay or list their home.” 

The all-home median price for the county, which includes new and resale single-family detached homes and condos, was $421,500 in May, 12.4 percent higher than the same month in 2012, according to DataQuick, a Southern California-based real estate tracking firm. May marked the 13th consecutive month in which the county’s median home sales price saw a year-over-year increase. However, the May median sale price was still 23.4 percent lower than the peak May median of $550,000 in 2006. A total of 394 homes were sold in May 2013, up from 361 sold in May 2012, a 9 percent year-over-year increase.  Most of the homes sold in the county are existing, single-family homes.

The median price for resale homes was $435,500 in May, a 13.1 percent year-over-year increase. Sales for existing, single-family homes grew to 325, a nearly 5 percent year-over-year increase. June median price and sales figures are not yet available. 

Home prices will continue to be strong, growing by double-digit percentages this year, before tapering off to more historical norms of 5 or 6 percent in later years, Levine said. “Now is still a good time to get into the housing market,” he added, noting that mortgage interest rates have started to move up slightly. “They (interest rates) are still low by historical standards, and I think it makes sense now to buy, from an investment standpoint.” Investors are snapping up property as many would-be buyers — those who may have had a bankruptcy or foreclosure on their record — are unable to purchase a home and must choose rentals, Levine said.

While the market is benefiting investors with cash, first-time home-buyers are finding that it’s difficult to compete, said Appleton-Young. “They just have to hang in there,” she said. “They need to not get discouraged.” Continued economic recovery and an increase in employment opportunities will give home buying a boost, Appleton-Young said. San Luis Obispo County’s unemployment rate was 5.7 percent in May, lower than the state’s unemployment rate of 8.6 percent. “We clearly need more job growth in order to bring more households into a situation where they can afford to buy a home,” she said. “In the last couple of weeks, there has been a re-evaluation of economic growth in the second half of this year to be even more robust. We’re moving in the right direction.”

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North County Forecast & Review 2nd Quarter

by Pete Dakin, Owner/Broker RE/MAX Parkside

North County Real Estate maintained momentum throughout the first half of 2013.  Our County appears to be strengthening in both employment and overall economic activity.  Tourism and agriculture have helped our North County businesses and real estate.  Even our local municipalities are breathing easier from a financial standpoint.  This report outlines real estate activity for the first half of 2013.

            Residential single family unit sales totaled 630 sales for the first half of 2013 which was similar to the first half of 2012 unit sales.  The average sales price jumped up 22% to $325,000.  Pending sales, homes currently in escrow, ended the quarter at 250 units which is an increase of 41% over 2012.  Available properties for sale dropped 23% to just under 400 units, which equates to a 4 month supply at best.  For sure, more homes would have sold if more homes were available for sale.  Higher prices tend to bring out more inventory but we are still going to be faced with more Buyers than Sellers in the short term.

            In the million dollar property category we have seen a steady increase in sales and pending sales.  Prices are stable but prices still lag behind replacement value.  Appraisers are all over the map and lenders are extremely conservative in this price range.  The biggest change has been in the supply category.  We went from 68 million dollar units for sale in 2012 to 85 million dollar units for sale in 2013.  Again the million dollar range is vast in price points but we are still way long in supply.  Prime Westside estates are receiving the most Buyer interest.  Our feeder markets of Los Angeles and the Bay Area have had steady million dollar activity and this activity should continue to trickle into North County.  Strong grape pricing may also bolster this market. 

            Land pricing and lots for residential single family are strong.  Low finished home inventory is driving more builders into the spec home market.  Many local people have also taken advantages of lots for sale to build their dream home.  There appears to be no real immediate increase in finished lot inventory so Buyers are aggressive if the price is right.  It’s a cash money proposition in raw land for Buyers and Sellers. 

            We have some very strong large wineries in the North County and a handful of high quality smaller operations that all have international recognition.  It’s really remarkable to imagine we live in a community that has a recognized quality profile throughout the world wine industry.  Real money is being invested in vineyards, wineries, restaurants and hotels.  Agricultural lenders are also very strong and supportive in our community.  This wine industry and vineyard industry is healthy and growing.

            A quick word about interest rates:  Everyone is concerned about any uptick in rates.  Then again many people are concerned about the potential/coming problems of the monetary stimulus.  Often when interest rates tick up, people pick up the pace in buying homes because of the fear of further upticks.  We are not so sure Buyers will jump in so boldly with rate upticks: when a third of the Buyers are all cash, one wonders about the interest rate jump impact.  This is not a normal real estate recovery.

Commercial real estate reflects our local economy.  More activity in this market from investors and tenants.  There is still a lot of vacant space and small businesses are feeling the effects of the tax increases, health care costs and a “no growth” recovery.  Investor interest in apartments is strong and will remain strong throughout this year.  Residential rents are strong and commercial rents are tepid unless the space is A plus. 

            We are not in a healthy economy; we are in an unusual economy.  Ditto for our real estate markets.  Real and perceived headwinds are in the minds of all worker bees in our state.  There is that uneasy feeling that this no growth, entitlement heavy society is unsustainable.  The future may be uncertain but we believe North County will perform well in the coming years because of the quality of our lifestyle, location and the wine industry.

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Contact Information

Real Team 360
RE/MAX Parkside Real Estate - BRE #01421338
1213 Vine Street
Paso Robles CA 93446
Office: (805) 238-1555