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At Least San Diego Isn’t the State’s Priciest Market

San Diego isn’t the least affordable housing market in the state. That honor goes to Santa Barbara, where only 6 percent of its residents are able to afford a median-priced house, while the High Desert region was the most affordable, at 28 percent. And San Diego? A tad better than Santa Barbara at 9 percent, down 1 percent from last year.

That’s the latest from the California Association of Realtors’ Housing Affordability Index for August.

Overall, the percentage of households in California able to afford a median-priced home stood at 14 percent in August, 4 percent less than a year ago, and 2 percent less compared with July.

In August, the minimum household income needed to purchase a median-priced home ($568,890) in California in August was $133,800, based on an interest rate of 5.87 percent and assuming a 20 percent down payment.

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The minimum household income needed to purchase a median-priced home was up from $110,980 in August 2004, when the median price of a home was $473,520, and the prevailing interest rate was 5.83 percent.

Some national perspective: The minimum household income needed to purchase a median-priced home ($220,000) in the United States in August 2005 was $51,740.

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Venting And Renting:

When home prices are out of sight, rental properties start booming. Consider that the median price for a single-family home in San Diego County hit $614,120 in June, up 5.8 percent from last year, according to Hendricks & Partners’ second-quarter apartment update report.

“Housing affordability continues to be a problem in the region, with only 9 percent of residents able to afford a median-priced home,” the report noted. “The lack of affordability within the for-sale housing market continues to provide a healthy environment for rent growth.”

Some other tidbits:

– The San Diego apartment market experienced negative demand in the second quarter, while 755 apartment units came on-line during the second quarter, up from 733 last year.

– Permits were approved for 744 multifamily units in the second quarter, down from the 1,448 approved over the same time last year; 6,647 multifamily units have been permitted in the last four quarters, up from 5,886 over the previous four quarters.

– The apartment market observed a 5.5 percent average vacancy rate in the second quarter, down from 6 percent posted in the second quarter of 2004.

– During the year ended June 2005, the average monthly rent increased from $1,189 to $1,234, an increase of 3.8 percent. The average monthly rent of the North County Coastal and Hillcrest/Mission Valley sub-markets rose to more than $1,400, a mark not previously reached in the San Diego market, according to the report.

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Play On:

Two years in the works, the newly restored Stephen and Mary Birch North Park Theatre was dedicated Sept. 30 with well wishes from San Diego dignitaries.

Hosted by Leon Natker, the Lyric Opera San Diego general director; and J. Sherwood Montgomery, its artistic director, the ceremony included developer Bud Fischer; Debra Fischle-Faulk, the assistant executive director of the San Diego redevelopment agency; architect Richard Bundy; and leading donors the Stephen and Mary Birch Foundation and Dr. Merle and Teresa Fischlowitz.

“I don’t think I am exaggerating to say that this theater will be the most important catalyst for the revitalization of North Park that has happened in our time,” said Deputy Mayor Toni Atkins during the ceremony. “This will be the heart of the North Park arts, culture and entertainment district, which grows more vibrant every day.”

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Big Deals:

Hearthstone, a nationwide investor in residential development projects, has committed $44 million to John Laing Homes to develop 130 single-family homes within the master-planned community of Arrowood, 10 miles northeast of Oceanside.

The transaction is the third between Hearthstone and San Diego detached-home builders in 2005, bringing the investment firm’s commitment to $128.8 million.

Kilroy Realty Corp., a Southern California-based real estate investment trust, has purchased for $24 million a 20-acre land site, including a 303,000-square-foot office, engineering and manufacturing building, along the Interstate 15 corridor in the Rancho Bernardo sub-market of San Diego.

San Diego-based Grubb & Ellis/BRE Commercial announced the $13.6 million sale of a three-story, multi-tenant office building in Sacramento. The 98,576-square-foot office building is in the city’s South Natomas sub-market.

The seller, Touchstone Investments, is a privately held real estate investment firm in Tustin and operates in San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles, as well as Northern California. The buyer was TA Associates Realty.

Tmack LLC has broken ground for Twin Oaks Center, a 25,000-square-foot retail development in San Marcos, according to CB Richard Ellis’ San Diego office.

The project, situated among Cal State San Marcos, Palomar College and City Hall, is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2006.

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They Built It:

UBuildIt , a company that teaches regular folks how to build their own custom homes or remodel them , is doubling its size in Escondido with new 2,100-square-foot offices at 1260-C Auto Park Way.

The Escondido office, which now has 11 construction consultants and employees, was recently named UBuildIt’s Franchise Office of the Year.


Send residential and commercial real estate news to pbroderick@sdbj.com or via fax at (858) 571-3628.

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