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Apartment Property Prices Still Setting Records, Burnham Report Shows

San Diego-based Burnham Real Estate reported that the average selling prices of San Diego County apartment properties are resilient despite steady declines in sales volume the past two years.

George Carlson, vice president and apartment specialist with Burnham, said even though last year’s sales were down from 2005 and 2004, average countywide sales prices are still above the record-high prices set in 2004.

“This shows that the apartment market is seemingly resistant to the law of supply and demand, which tells us that prices should drop with decreased investor interest,” Carlson said in a release. “It may be an indicator that while investor interest for the purpose of condominium conversions has clearly slowed, the basic fundamentals that support a strong apartment market are clearly evident in San Diego with still positive population growth and a shortage of affordable housing.”

According to the report released March 27, the average sales price for apartments was $171,000 per unit in 2006, down 3.8 percent from 2005 but up 2.7 percent from 2004.

The average selling price of apartments in the city was $207,000 in 2006, up 7.5 percent from 2005 and up 6.2 percent from 2004.

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Among The Worst:

San Diego ranked second in a recent forecast of the worst 25 U.S. housing markets for 2007.

The forecast, which rated markets based on factors such as employment, business growth and development, was conducted by Destin, Fla.-based Housing Predictor.

The provider of independent housing market forecasts for more than 250 U.S. cities said San Diego would see prices fall 13.5 percent in 2007 compared with 2006.

Several other California metropolitan areas made the list. Los Angeles ranked fourth, San Francisco was sixth, Sacramento seventh, Oakland eighth, San Jose 12th and Bakersfield 24th.

Some markets are showing signs of stabilization, the forecast said, but it will take time for markets to reach levels where buyers are comfortable again, including San Diego.

The report said Miami was the worst market in the nation. Cities in Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Virginia finished the top 25 worst list.

Housing Predictor also published a top 25 appreciating U.S. markets forecast for 2007. No California city made the list. New Orleans and Houston topped the list.

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Focus On Affordability:

A proposed housing affordability act, SB 303, was approved March 27 by the state Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. The bill was introduced by Sen. Denise Moreno Ducheny, D-San Diego, to ensure that low-income residents are included in the future of residential planning.

The bill aims to reverse the trend of housing supply falling far behind demand, according to Ducheny’s office. Her office drafted the bill to ensure responsible planning, require full compliance with environmental laws and boost affordable housing.

Each community would keep control of determining how much affordable housing is needed and now zone accordingly, as spelled out in the bill.

“More certainty means lower prices,” said Ducheny in a news release. “People who build our homes, people who keep our communities safe and teach our kids are still priced out of the market. Our local governments have the right and responsibility to plan for places for people to live.”

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Welcome Back:

San Diego-based NTDStichler Architecture is welcoming back partners Steve Hoskins and Jim Spencer after nearly 27 years. Hoskins and Spencer got their start nearly 40 years ago at NTDStichler before they ventured out to begin their own architecture practice with a focus on community college design in 1980. The duo formed Altadena-based Spencer/Hoskins + Associates and served 10 districts in California, including the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.

Spencer/Hoskins + Associates and NTDStichler merged March 1. The companies did not disclose terms of the deal.

“While our education studio has been on an upward climb over the past several years, we were able to foresee the significant benefits to joining Jim and Steve’s practice with ours,” said Jon Alan Baker, president and chief executive officer of NTDStichler. “This merger will strengthen our community college services and enhance our relationship with the market.”

The 16-person Spencer/Hoskins staff will join NTDStichler’s San Dimas office.

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One-Stop Shopping:

Sherman Oaks-based Metrocities Mortgage LLC and Keller Williams San Diego Metro have formed Metro San Diego Mortgage, a joint venture mortgage company based in San Diego.

The affiliated business arrangement provides home buyers with access to more than 7,000 loan programs, including interest only and vacation home financing.

Don Rosselli, Metrocities’ executive vice president and Southwest regional manager, said Metro San Diego Mortgage will provide Keller Williams clients with the convenience of in-house, one-stop real estate and financing services, including loan processing, underwriting, closing and funding.

Keller Williams broker Leona Kline said clients now have access to MetroSearch, a proprietary search engine that enables loan officers to find the best loan programs based on individual clients’ needs.


Send real estate news to Michelle Mowad at

mmowad@sdbj.com

. She may also be reached by phone at (858) 277-6359, ext. 3109.

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