Yorba Linda has seen a spike in the construction of new houses and apartments throughout the city, reflecting the uptick in home building across Orange County.
There are more than a dozen major housing projects under way in the city, ranging from three-story townhomes to single-family homes to affordable multi-family apartments.
“It’s very active,” Greg Rehmer, senior planner for the city of Yorba Linda, said. “It’s probably the most active year we’ve had in the last 10 to 15 years.”
About half of the new housing popping up is related to zone changes that were passed in 2012 by Yorba Linda voters, said David Brantley, the city’s community development director. Read More >
Dave Barisic on Brandywine’s infill neighborhood focus and the home building climate in Southern California.
January 25, 2016
Brandywine Homes dubs itself the “little big builder and developer” because it focuses on dominating a particular home building niche—infill neighborhoods—in a Southern California market where there is no shortage of competition from nationals with a preference for giant master planned communities. The family-owned company, founded in 1994, has been expanding recently from its core Orange County territory into greater Los Angeles and north San Diego. Growth projections called for doubling annual home deliveries to about 100 homes in 2015 and to 200 this year. Brandywine currently has eight communities under construction.
Q: Is the well of abandoned and failed properties still providing sufficient infill opportunities or is that source of lots showing signs of diminishing?
A: I don’t see that diminishing anytime soon. If anything, there are more brokers out there finding these properties than there ever have been before, and because it’s a growth part of this business, we get more opportunities coming across our desk on a weekly basis than we ever have. Abandoned and failed home products are very little of what we see. More than anything, we’re seeing changes of use; an old strip mall, an old church property, neighborhood school, or something that really didn’t end up making it, so those properties are being repurposed and rezoned as residential.
Q: Are you finding that there is more competition looking at those opportunities?
A: Absolutely, and that’s cyclical as well. Back in ’05 and ’06 there were tons of builders in the infill markets, and as the economy changed in ’07 and ’08, everyone retreated from it except for those of us who do that as our core business. But certainly the market is getting more competitive.
Q: How difficult is it to get those properties rezoned in Southern California?
A: It’s difficult. I think that during the downturn when there were not a whole lot of people doing what we do, regulatory agencies and local governments took that time to increase the bureaucracy. So instead of processing plans, they came up with new laws and restrictions. It’s gotten significantly more difficult to rezone, to get land entitled. What used to take us six months now typically takes us 12 to 18 months.
Q: What are the advantages and challenges of infill building?
A: The challenges have pretty much remained the same. The No.1 challenge is that it has gotten more difficult to entitle. Another challenge with infill is that you’re building in an area that’s already built out. So you’re dealing with neighbors who have been there for 30 years who don’t want your construction in their neighborhood. You’re also dealing with existing utilities, so you’re not starting from scratch. Also, some of the projects may be dealing with an acre of land, and you’re putting 10 to 15 houses on it. The logistics of construction on a site that small are very challenging because you might have 100 guys working on that site. Where do they park without upsetting the neighbors? Those challenges haven’t changed; we’ve seen those since day one. The advantages are that no matter what location you’re looking at there are always people who want to live in a certain neighborhood. We give people a new-home alternative in an area that will never see new homes again just because there is no land available. For people who grew up in Buena Park, where Knott’s Berry Farm is, if you want to live in Buena Park, there are no new homes there because it’s been built out since the 1950s and ’60s. What we provide is repurposed land; we give people a new-home alternative in a neighborhood that they really want to live in instead of moving out to the suburbs to the big master plans. There’s limited competition in the areas where we build.
Q: One can assume that Millennials are interested in urban locations, but are you seeing interest from other buyer groups?
A: It depends on the product type. We are building in urban infill locations with three-story townhomes, and we’ll sell to Millennials all day long with product because they don’t mind walking up and down steps, but you’re rarely going to get a move-down empty nester moving into a three-story townhome with all those steps. It’s very product-based, and we’re not building any at the moment, but I have seen a movement in the urban areas with product aiming for a more mature home buyer who doesn’t want to take care of a big yard and does want to be able to walk to dinner. That will be a much larger portion of the market over the next ten years as the Baby Boomers continue to age. I’ve been setting up meetings with various local market research companies just to bring in people and start talking about that. Where is that buyer profile going? Where do they want to live exactly? What kind of amenities do they want? All of those things.
Q: What do you see happening with new home inventory in SoCal and Orange County?
A: Right now it’s pretty flat. The inventory increased dramatically over the past few years but this year, 2015, it’s remained pretty steady with buyers versus new home starts. So I don’t see the new home inventory increasing drastically. I think next year, the inventory might get a little larger. We’re seeing job growth in Orange and LA counties so I think we’re still in the right market cycle for that but I don’t see a glut of inventory; it’s pretty stable.
Slang is shorthand for common places and experiences that binds locals together. If you’re from outside Orange County, you’ll hear a lot of terms that you might not understand. You could just ask somebody what they mean, which would instantly mark you as an outsider. Or you could be totally cool and just check out this list.
The only thing that you can be sure about our Southern California weather is that it’s unpredictable. We’ve been in a drought for years. So in your house hunt, you’ve only considered how a potential purchase would do in dry weather. Now that El Niño is bringing us lots of rain, you have to switch gears and think about how a home will endure water.
You never know whether the owner of a used home has prepped his or her abode for either kind of weather. However, our new homes are built to deal with all kinds of outdoor conditions. Here are some advantages of considering our new housing over used.
The constant drip of moisture from the ceiling to an interior floor is the scourge of any homeowner when heavy rains come. Worse yet is a drip you can hear but not see because that indicates a hidden hole that may be difficult to find. Owners of used homes may have neglected roof inspections and consequent repairs because of dry weather. The older the roof, the more likely is it to leak. New roofs, on the other hand, are impervious to leaks. Read More >
Large Turnout Expected for January 16 Grand Opening at New Neighborhood Serving Extremely Underserved Area
WEST CARSON, Calif. – January 14, 2016 – Brandywine Homes announced it has already sold the first 15 homes at Brighton, a 4.46-acre community with 60 single-family detached homes in unincorporated West Carson just east of Torrance in southwestern Los Angeles County, well ahead of the grand opening scheduled for Saturday, January 16.
“We opened up our first phase of homes for sale to our VIP list in mid-December, and the response has been unbelievable,” said Dave Barisic, vice president of sales and marketing at Brandywine Homes, a pioneer of infill development in Southern California. “The grand opening will mark the release of phase two, and we expect the turnout to be great.”
With a population approaching one million, Torrance and other nearby communities face a housing shortage because the existing supply is aging and developable land is scarce. The area offers diverse employment and serves as a residential area for downtown Los Angeles. Read More >
The New Year is a great time to take stock of where you are with your Los Angeles County home and where you want to take it, whether you’ve just moved in or have been living there awhile. You can take care of stuff that you may not have time for during the rest of the year. Here are a few things that you may want to do this month before the rest of the year catches up with you.
Get rid of Christmas.
As much as you may enjoy the holiday season, its decor has to come down now. Carefully put away the tinsel, wreaths, and garlands for use next year. Wrap your Christmas lights around a long and stiff piece of cardboard, so they don’t tangle when you need them. If you have any decorations that are questionable, such as an animated figure that is on its last legs, get rid of them now so they doesn’t occupy valuable storage space. You can always buy replacements come December.
Reduce the clutter.
It’s fun to receive all the presents from friends and relatives. But unless it’s really something you can use right away, these gifts tend to go into storage. Why not get rid of them now to declutter the home? Return it to the store if you have a gift receipt, make a bit of needed cash by selling it on eBay, or give it to charity. If you do want to keep a gift, get rid of an older item in its place. This process ensures that you don’t increase the amount of clutter in your house. Read More >
While we like to think that Brandywine quality is reason enough to buy one of our Orange County homes, it’s not the sole reason you may want to stay in the area. You still have to live and, preferably, work in the OC, and have your kids go to school. Fortunately, many year-end statistics have just come out that celebrate your decision to move here. Use them to feel good about your recent purchase or to prompt you into finally buying your dream home.