Whittlesey Doyle, a market leader in the land brokerage industry, announced today that in the last 60 days Whittlesey Doyle has negotiated the sale of eight separate land transactions located throughout Southern California totaling approximately 335 acres, encompassing over 1,500 lots and units, for a total consideration of more than $39 million. Whittlesey Doyle had the exclusive listings in seven of the sales transactions. The individual sale prices could not be disclosed.
According to Whittlesey Doyle's Les Whittlesey, co-founder and principal, the most interesting thing about these transactions was their diversity. "At one end of the spectrum, we sold a graded super pad site in Temecula to a builder for a project that will open for sales next year, and, at the other end, a raw un-entitled land site sold to an investor doing an assemblage in the Banning market," Whittlesey stated.
"While the land market has changed, buyers and sellers have finally adjusted to the reality of current market values. Land values have reset to 2003/2004 levels. We have seen builders who stopped buying land two to three years ago, enter the market to refill their land positions," said Whittlesey.
Finding developed lots is difficult due to how long it takes to get through the entitlements and the development process. "Investors have entered the market for the same reason as the builders; they want to buy entitled land so part of the 'heavy lifting' has already been completed. Their plans are to purchase, hold the property and then take it to the market at the appropriate time," Whittlesey said.
What about the REOs? Whittlesey said that many of the banks have already sold their residential land REOs, but there are still some bank-owned properties on the market and still more to follow, but not as many. "Of course," he stated, "there is a substantial amount of bank-owned commercial properties that will soon be hitting the market." In Whittlesey Doyle's recent transactions, four of the eight transactions were REO properties.
In San Bernardino County, Whittlesey Doyle negotiated the sale of three land transactions. In Victorville, Nick Emsiek represented the seller in the REO sale of Cordoba, which consists of 135 finished lots for single-family homes plus three finished units (two models and one production home). The 35.5-acre property is located at the northwest corner of Hook Blvd. and Cobalt Rd., and is part of the West Creek Specific Plan, which covers approximately 406 acres proposed for mixed single-family residential development of nearly 1,600 homes. Minimum lot size is 5,000 square feet with lots up to 10,000 square feet. The names of the buyer, a private investor, and seller, a financial institution, could not be disclosed.
In Rancho Cucamonga, Mitch Perez represented the seller in the sale of 81 finished lots in Ironwood Estates. Located at Wardman Bullock Rd. and Colonbero Rd., on approximately 35 acres, the lot size averages approximately 18,487 square feet. The buyer was Meritage Homes. The seller was Rancho 2004, LLC.
In Fontana, Perez also represented the seller, a financial institution, in the REO sale of 76.15 acres in the northern part of the city. The unimproved property is situated immediately west of the future 531-acre Arboretum, a Lewis master-planned community, which proposes 3,526 residential units, two school sites, public and private recreational facilities. The previous developer had a proposed plan for 720 attached and detached residential units on 63.22 acres. The remaining acreage is zoned for commercial. The buyer, Lewis Investment Company, LLC, had a two-week due diligence period and closed in two days.
In Riverside County, Whittlesey Doyle negotiated the sale of three land transactions in the last 60 days. In Temecula. Les Whittlesey and David Harbour represented the seller in the sale of improved lots for up to 271 detached and attached units at Maravilla at Rancho Highlands. Located in the heart of Temecula on the west side of Ynez Road about a 1/4 mile south of Rancho California Road, Maravilla consists of a recorded Final Map, which separates the 21.06-acre property into three condo lots for development. A Development Plan for 210 townhome units in a triplex configuration was approved by the city of Temecula in May-06. Rough grading was completed and all major backbone infrastructure including sewer, water, storm drain, dry utilities and streets with curb and gutter are installed. The buyer was Woodside Homes. The seller was American Property Enterprises. According to Whittlesey, Woodside Homes is expected to open for sales next year.
In Banning, Perez represented the seller in the sale of Rolling Hills Estates, 140.7 residential acres. The property currently has no active entitlements; however, it had previously been approved for 213 residential lots with a minimum size of 20,000 square feet. The previous entitlements included: approved tentative tract map, mitigated negative declaration, Army Corp 404 Permit, Department of Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Opinion and improvement plans substantially complete. The buyer was Diversified Pacific. The seller was Banning Homes, LLC.
In La Quinta, Whittlesey Doyle represented the seller, a financial institution, in the REO sale of 29 finished lots and 15 completed homes located within the community of The Estates at Point Happy Ranch, a 22-acre prestigious private community with an elegant gated entry. The community is located at the northwest intersection of Point Happy Way and Washington, just south of Highway 111, and close to great shopping, restaurants and golf. The average lot size is 9,000 sq. ft. The completed homes average 3,000 sq. ft. The buyer was RCS - Point Happy, LLC.
In San Diego County, Steve Relth of Whittlesey Doyle recently negotiated the sale of two land transactions, both in the City of Escondido. Relth represented the buyer in the sale of City Square in Escondido, which included six building pads for 84 townhome units (for units 1,183 sq. ft. to 1,933 sq. ft.) on three acres. The community is located at the southwestern corner of Second Avenue and Orange Street in Escondido. The buyer and seller names could not be disclosed.
Also in Escondido, Relth represented the seller in the REO sale of El Norte Parkway, the sale 1.67 acres that includes tentative map approval for 8-row homes (averaging 1,950 sq. ft.) and 12 condominiums (1,630 sq. ft.- 1,715 sq. ft.) plus three existing rental units in Escondido in northern San Diego County. The property is located at the southeast corner of El Norte Parkway and Broadway, close to Escondido High School and retail. The buyer was Community Housing Works. The seller's name, a financial institution, could not be disclosed.
"We expect home values to remain flat for the next couple of years due to the foreclosure market and job outlook, but in the short term you may see a slight softening in the value of homes until people feel that there is some positive news about the economy. Land prices will rise when land buyers feel the market has stabilized. When there is a more positive outlook on the residential market, builders don't require as high of a margin since they feel that there is less risk involved. Less risk equals lower margins which means higher land values," Whittlesey said.
"Since there has been no land development in the past several years, we see tremendous upside once the foreclosure market runs out of gas and the economy has stabilized," stated Whittlesey. "In the meantime, there will not be much inventory starting in 2012, which will lead to a tightening of the land market, resulting in increased values. Good reasons to be a buyer today."
For more information about Whittlesey Doyle and its listed properties, visit wdland.com/.