Looking for a new house? Lucky you: It’s a buyer’s market.
There’s an upside to the Sacramento region’s housing downslide&emdash;for buyers, anyway. The rosy buyer’s market is especially enticing for people looking to buy a brand-new home. Despite the cooling real estate market, long-planned new housing projects are continuing to sprout up all around the region. They were placed in the planning pipeline during the region’s white-hot housing run-up from 2002 to the end of 2005. Now, they’re built and ready for occupancy. In fact, there are 373 new housing developments with homes for sale right now, compared with about 290 a year ago, local housing analysts report. The projects offer buyers some innovative housing choices and some pretty sweet deals.
So if you’re looking for new digs to fit your changing family or lifestyle, or you’re ready to dump the McMansion for a hip condo, now may be the perfect time. Here’s a sampling of the range of projects out there.
Luxury Town Homes and Villas
Located within walking distance of Sacramento’s so-called Gourmet Gulch and just down the street from the exclusive shopping plaza that shares its name, Pavilions is a luxury project, built with an eye to both empty nesters and professionals looking to live a low-maintenance lifestyle. A stone’s throw from bustling Fair Oaks Boulevard and restaurants such as Roxy, Bandera and Kozen, the project offers luxury town homes in a quiet, elegant, gated community with a clubhouse, heated pool, spa and outdoor kitchen.
The three-story units are priced from $715,000 to $764,000. There are five floor plans, ranging from 2,200 to 2,500 square feet, with three to four bedrooms and three to 3Â½ baths. Among the many features at Pavilions are courtyards, fireplaces, chef’s kitchens with GE Monogram appliances, attached garages, patios, balconies and junior master suites.
Some buyers are professionals from Granite Bay and Roseville who are downsizing from 4,000-square-foot homes now that the kids have grown up. They want to be closer to the city center and free of home maintenance. But empty nesters and retirees aren’t the only ones attracted to the project. Luke Greene, the project’s broker, says the town homes also appeal to young professionals.
Matt Swanston, 36, moved into Pavilions this past November, returning to his roots in Sacramento after years in the Bay Area. For me, it’s pretty much ground zero, central Sacramento, he says. There seems to be everything you need within a half a block.
Swanston is impressed by the project’s quality but warns that those who have trouble negotiating stairs may have difficulty living in the three-story units. The project also is not very suitable for families with young children, he says.
Washington Park Village Hip
Urban condos with exteriors reminiscent of East Coast brownstones
Washington Park Village is a new urban development at the corner of D and 17th streets in midtown Sacramento. The 52-unit project is within walking distance of light rail, cafes and restaurants, New Roma Bakery, the Sacramento Theatre Company and Music Circus at the Wells Fargo Pavilion, and the state Capitol. What’s more, it offers parking: two-car garages, in fact.
Built by Signature Properties, Washington Park Village is a classic example of urban reuse and infill: It’s on the site of the former Blue Diamond truck loading dock. The two- and three-bedroom town homes range from 1,229 to 1,468 square feet, and prices start in the high $300,000s.
Modern amenities include prewiring for satellite TV, security cameras and stainless steel appliances. Granite-slab countertops are standard.
Sales agent Natalie Lucia describes the condos’ style as Craftsman with an urban flair; exteriors have almost a brownstone appeal. The floor plans, she notes, are really flowy.
Lucia says the project attracts young urban professionals and business-savvy folks as well as empty nesters.
For those concerned about hearing noise from neighbors through the walls of these attached homes, not to worry: Washington Park units feature multiple layers of sound barriers, including special sound-absorbing matting on the floors and walls.
Gated development of homes for adults 55 and older in the Meadowview area
Built in an area that hasn’t seen much new development in recent years, Sun Meadows is designed to foster a tightknit community for seniors. The South Sacramento gated community offers seven compact floor plans ranging from 1,100 to 1,505 square feet. Its 136 single-family homes are arranged around an elaborate clubhouse where boccie, billiards, golf putting, swimming and barbecues are the order of the day.
You just don’t see this in neighborhoods in South Sacramento, says Christopher Brown, director of sales and marketing for New Faze Development. The project’s top-notch amenities are unusual for an affordable development, he says.
New Faze specializes in infill projects, often in economically struggling areas. Sun Meadows homes sell from the mid-$200,000s to low $300,000s.
In this age-restricted community, residents range in age from 55 to 101.
It’s this huge diversity, says Brown. We’ve got folks who are single, folks who are married, some who are actively working and those on the other end of the spectrum: the 75-plus group who are enjoying relaxing at the community center.
Gated 2,000-home development, devoted in large part to active adults 55 and older
Most portions of Westshore are age-restricted for active adults 55 and older. According to real estate analysts, in this region, homes in active-adult communities are selling at the fastest clip right now. Seniors are less threatened by swings in the real estate market since they have lived through so many of them. They also tend to have more equity to play with.
Developer K. Hovnanian Homes is enticing senior buyers to this Natomas project through its wide range of home types: large, small, single-family detached and attached. The development is built around a 22,000-square-foot lodge that contains a movie theater, a card room and&emdash;stereotypes aside&emdash;shuffleboard. The grounds also have lighted tennis courts.
Westshore lies between Marina Boulevard and Del Paso Road and features a 26-acre lake, 31 acres of park and a nature preserve. The homes for active adults range from 817 to 3,345 square feet. Home prices in the middle of that size range start in the low $300,000s.
Master-planned community of 2,100 homes in 17 villages
Anatolia, a master-planned community in Rancho Cordova off Sunrise Boulevard and Douglas Road, offers virtually every type of housing in a series of 17 villagelike neighborhoods designed by 10 builders. The huge project is attractive to first-time homebuyers, move-up buyers and even luxury-home seekers. The development contains numerous parks and an elaborate clubhouse. Retail shopping will come onboard soon. Almost half of Anatolia’s land is in open space or is part of a wetlands preserve.
Anatolia’s builders include Cambridge Homes, Pulte Homes, Lennar Corporation, DR Horton and JTS Communities. The villages, with names such as Anthology, Sorrento, Verona, The Estates and The Villas, offer homes ranging from 1,345 square feet (The Villas) to 5,567 square feet (The Estates). Prices start in the mid-$300,000s and go up to more than $900,000.
We are seeing people who are really interested in the quality of life [of Anatolia]: the club, schools, parks, says Kirsten Geney, marketing director for Cambridge Homes, builder of the Anthology and Mastery villages. Most of our buyers are local.
According to Rancho Cordova Vice Mayor Linda Budge, people from other parts of Rancho Cordova as well as Elk Grove are moving to Anatolia because they work in Rancho Cordova and want to live south of Highway 50 for an easier commute.
Urban living with 194 homes near Raley Field
If you put your arm out the window of one of the homes at Ironworks, you might catch a foul ball flying out of Raley Field. Perhaps that’s an exaggeration, but this new housing development in West Sacramento’s Triangle area feels like a baseball’s throw from the home of the Sacramento River Cats. It’s certainly within walking distance of the park: about a quarter mile.
Ironworks is the first new development in The Triangle area since Raley Field was built. The project exudes a cultivated, urban feel. Built by Regis Homes, the medium- to high-density project offers detached homes with two-car garages in two styles: a two-story, single-family residence with attached garage and patio, and a loft-style plan with two floors of living space, balconies and a garage underneath. The homes, with names like Chromium and Palladium, range from 1,237 to 1,626 square feet and run $345,000 to $402,100. The lofts&emdash;all 1,300-square-foot, two-bedroom units, with two or 2 Â½ baths&emdash;range from $370,000 to $405,685.
It’s mostly urban professionals who have shown interest in the project, says Ironworks community sales manager Marty Atkinson. People who are downsizing or people who are buying their first home. Not a lot of people with kids.
Regatta at The Rivers
Condo project within The Rivers development along the West Sacramento riverfront
Empty nesters looking for the lock-up-and-leave lifestyle or single professionals wanting proximity to downtown and lots of outdoor amenities might want to check out Regatta at The Rivers. The condo project is nestled into the 200-acre master-planned community of The Rivers by The Grupe Company. The Rivers development offers everything from huge executive mansions along the waterfront to condos. Currently, all the other homes in The Rivers are sold out. Regatta units went on sale in August.
Prices for Regatta start in the $400,000s. Units go up to 1,815 square feet, with up to four bedrooms and 2 Â½ baths. All have attached garages and outdoor patios or balconies. Security services are on site around-the-clock.
The Parkway Master-planned community of homes and town homes with 200 acres of open space
If parks, walking trails, golf, boating&emdash;and retail therapy&emdash;are your thing, have a look at the homes offered in The Parkway project off Blue Ravine Road in Folsom. This development is in its second phase of construction and is now offering both single-family detached homes and attached town homes within a community with gobs of green: about 200 acres of open space. Boaters can get to Folsom Lake in five minutes by car&emdash;ditto for golfers eager to play at Empire Ranch Golf Course. Hiking and biking trails that connect to the Humbug-Willow Creek trail system are within walking distance. And Palladio at Broadstone shopping center will be but a short drive away.
The Parkway currently features homes in three villagelike settings. Marbella by John Laing Homes offers single-family detached villas from 1,712 to 2,143 square feet starting in the high $300,000s. Rivage offers attached town homes, also by John Laing, that range from 1,313 to 1,747 square feet and start in the $330,000s. At Vizcaya, Standard Pacific Homes offers single-family detached homes that range from 1,675 to 1,963 square feet. They are priced starting in the high $300,000s.
It’s a lifestyle option, says Patrick Saumure, senior community manager for Rivage. You don’t have to worry about a yard or exterior painting.
Planned community of 4,048 homes south of Interstate 5 and east of Highway 113
Woodland city planners toiled long and hard to maintain the city’s small-town feel when they worked with developers on the Spring Lake project. So it’s no surprise that the 1,096-acre development, which will accommodate about 11,000 people by 2015, has trees planted next to sidewalks and clock towers at intersections, just like in some of Woodland’s historic downtown neighborhoods. Greenbelts and neighborhood parks also are planned, including a central park with a plaza that will one day host a produce market. Other parks will feature picnic areas, basketball courts, softball fields and a roller-hockey court.
The homes in Spring Lake include custom luxury homes on lots as large as a third of an acre (selling in the $700,000s) to more modest homes&emdash;four to eight units per acre&emdash;in the $400,000s. Situated near Interstate 5, the project is attracting Sacramentans and others looking for a small-town feel but a reasonable commute to work. Others appreciate its close proximity to Davis. One homebuilder, Heritage Homes, has touted the project in its ads as being in north, north Davis, as it sits about six miles north of the Davis border.
I like it because it’s out of the city yet close to everything: my job in Davis, freeways and the airport, says Sennur Gurer, who purchased a three-bedroom, two-bath home in Spring Lake this summer. It’s very convenient to everything in my life.
Preston Heffernan, a Coldwell Banker agent who sells in Spring Lake and operates the website springlakecommunity.com, says the project is attracting people from as far away as Solano County and the East Bay in addition to Sacramento, Roseville and Elk Grove.
They like the size of the city, Heffernan says.
Master-planned community with ample parks and homes arranged in village settings
Parks, paseos, parkways and biking/walking trails are the trademarks of this 1,900-acre mixed-use community sprouting up west of Highway 99 and south of Elk Grove Boulevard that will grow to 8,000 homes. The Madeira project&emdash;Elk Grove’s first master-planned development since its incorporation in 2000&emdash;features retail, offices, parks, schools and a total of 234 acres of parkland, including a 150-foot-wide parkway that winds through the villages of the community.
Six builders are fashioning separate neighborhoods in Madeira&emdash;villages with their own parks and distinct architectural flavor, although all will have a neotraditional look. Some builders offer solar-powered, energy-efficient homes with radiant-heat barriers to reduce energy costs.
Kirsten Geney, marketing director for Cambridge Homes, one of the project’s builders, says her company is seeing a lot of interest from people who already live in Elk Grove and want to move up to a larger, newer home.
They love living in Elk Grove, says Geney. They love the community. And they love the possibility of moving into this new community,
Homes start in the high $300,000s. But with luxury homes in the mix, prices vary widely.
Multigenerational community built around a village green
Billed as a multigenerational community with homes for singles, young families, families with teens and active seniors, WestPark offers plenty of amenities along with villagelike settings so common in larger new developments. Smaller neighborhoods are built around parks, lending intimacy to each project. And the whole development is tied together by a village green: a large expanse of open space with a village center where residents can enjoy a latte at a coffeehouse or browse in shops. Developers envisioned the village green as a place where concerts, art shows and festivals could be held, providing a sense of community to the project.
Villages include The Club, a Del Webb community for seniors, and Denby Square, a community of detached homes built on a system of alleys. Homes in The Club start in the low $400,000s, while Denby Square residences start in the high $200,000s. Larger homes at Amerbly Place start in the low $400,000s and rise to the high $500,000s.
Toscana at The Promontory
Luxury homes in the rolling hills overlooking Folsom Lake
With names like The Chadwick, The James, The Richard, The Diana and The Arthur, the models in this upscale El Dorado Hills development demonstrate that Toscana is all about things English. Witness the style elements of the homes: Multiple gables, cathedral windows and a Tudor feel abound.
Homes range from 2,800 to 4,450 square feet and have three-car garages. Some have nooks, others lofts. Some sport master-suite retreats: separate areas off the master bedroom where you can read or meditate in private. Optional bonus rooms and media rooms also are available. While the less-expansive homes have three bedrooms, the largest model&emdash;The Diana&emdash;can be built with as many as seven bedrooms.
Billed as luxury homes, they come with a long list of amenities: chef’s kitchens with gourmet islands and hand-set ceramic tile countertops; recessed lighting; and oval soaking tubs. They range from the low $700,000s to the mid-$900,000s.
Nestled in the hills overlooking Folsom Lake, Toscana offers breathtaking views of not just the lake but also the rolling Sierra foothills.
Wisteria in Whitney Ranch
Solar homes in a master-planned community
Halfway through building their new development in Whitney Ranch, officials with the Sonoma-based Christopherson Homes decided to give buyers another perk: Each of the 35 remaining homes in the new 60-home neighborhood would be built with solar panels included in the price&emdash;not as an upgrade option. The homes also would be built to exceed the highest energy-efficiency requirements of the state. In fact, the Wisteria project is the first community to be approved for California’s New Solar Homes Partnership Program, through which the state subsidizes some of the upfront costs of solar systems.
According to Aaron Nitzen, vice president for the solar division of Old Country Roofing (the company that built the roofs and solar systems on the homes), the solar panels are actually built into the tiling on the roofs and hence blend in better than older panels that sit on top of roof tiles.
The result, according to Nitzen, isn’t just aesthetically pleasing; it’s financially beneficial for buyers. Owners of a standard home of comparable size in Rocklin might pay as much as $2,360 a year for energy. Wisteria homeowners can expect to pay about $709 a year in energy bills.
By buying this house, in the first year you might save about $1,650, says Nitzen. It really adds up.
Apparently, the solar option is attracting buyers. According to Diana Sanger, director of sales and marketing for Wisteria, Our traffic and sales are up.
Wisteria homes range from 3,828 to 4,832 square feet, with four to six bedrooms. Many have a wine-country farmhouse look, with big front porches and board-and-batten siding. Prices range from $575,000 to the mid-$700,000s.