4,500 housing plan in San Ramon

Sunset Development in San Ramon is rolling out a plan to add 4,500 housing units for up to 9,000r residents, encompassing five residential neighborhoods over 135 acres. The project would take 25 years to complete with the first units available in 2023.

Each neighborhood would have a different look and feel and have 500 to 1,200 units built on existing parking lots. The plan also calls for a new hotel, parking structures to replace existing lots, 170,000 sq. feet of retail and office space expanded recreational amenities including pedestrian and bicycle trails, community and transit centers and much more.

Critics are already citing increased traffic and strain on existing schools.

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Bay Area employment remains strong

Thanks to a surge in Santa Clara County – 4,800 jobs – mostly tech-related – added in July alone, the Bay Area remains close to full employment. The East Bay, South Bay, and San Francisco metro areas all have unemployment rates below 3 percent.

Over the past 12 months, the tech industry has added 2,900 jobs in the East Bay, followed by health care with 1,500. Meanwhile, the construction industry added 3,400 new jobs and retail added another 1,500. Hotels and restaurants lost 1,000 jobs inthe East Bay over the last year.

Of course, the strong job market only increases the demand for housing.

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Bay Area Unemployment Rates Declining

Earlier we discussed the More Jobs Than Homes situation in the Bay Area. This is borne out by the latest monthly report from the California Employment Development Department which states that California added 30,000 nonfarm jobs in September and the unemployment rate remains steady at 5.5 percent. Jobless claims dropped in in nine counties in the Bay Area.

Moreover, the Center For Continuing Study of the California Economy reports that 379,500 employees have entered or returned to the California worksforce which eans that all major regions of the state are currently above their prerecession employment levels.

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New Construction Coming – Maybe

All the conditions seem to be in place: steady economic and job growth, low interest rates, and an ever-increasing demand; so why isn’t more construction of single-family homes? According to the National Association of Home Builders a shortage of available lots, lack of qualified labor and continued tight access to construction and development loans remain stumbling blocks.

Nevertheless, NAHB is predicting single-family home construction will increase by 14 percent in 2016 to 812,000 and then rise another 19 percent in 2017 to 964,000 units.

All signs suggest that millennials’ goal is to purchase a single-family home in the suburbs. Builders remain “cautiously optimistic” that this will become more likely in the next two years.

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Back to the Suburbs

The Wall Street Journal reports that American are slowly moving back to the suburbs. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2012-2013, 14 of the 20 largest cities in the United States saw their growth rate slow considerably or their population actually decrease compared with 2011-2012 with Philadelphia and Detroit leading the way. Even some of the faster growing urban areas are slowing down: Austin’s rate of growth decreased from 3.1 percent to 2.4 percent while New York decreased from 0.9 percent to 0.7 percent.

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