3,000 New Homes Coming to O.C.

Finally, at least a glimmer of hope for the ravaged Orange County, CA housing market. Or at least some hopeful optimism.

Via the Orange County Register
Posted by Jeff Collins

Homebuilding is making a comeback of sorts in Orange County after coming to a near-standstill in the slump.

At least 28 new housing projects have been launched since the fall or will be launched by next fall, a Register survey of local builders shows.

In all, those projects include more than 3,000 houses, townhomes and duplexes.

By comparison, fewer than 2,000 building permits were issued for such homes in the same period in 2009-10, and only around 1,600 were issued in 2008-09.

Irvine housing consultant John Burns said it’s part of a tentative reawakening.

Builders are an optimistic breed,” Burns said. “But I can assure you that most of them are cautiously optimistic about 2011. The memories of the last five years haunt them.”

“It makes sense (to build) again,” added Dave Greminger, California division president of FieldStone Communities Inc. “We can deliver a product where there’s demand, and we can do that in a way that makes sense from a business standpoint.”

Builders have been encouraged by the sales success that the Irvine Co. had with new projects it launched last year.

New-home sales jumped 44 percent in Orange County last year. While last year’s dramatic upswing hasn’t been sustained– with purchase contracts slowing in recent weeks – builders still were inspired by last year’s sales.

That spurred several builders to resume construction.

“There is a pretty consistent feeling in the builder community that we are on the bottom, and things are going to get better,” said Newport Beach builder Bill Watt, president of the Orange County chapter of the Building Industry Association.

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