By U-T San Diego NOV. 15, 2014
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From new homes to more jobs, improvement in the housing market is benefiting San Diego in many ways. A recent “Meet The Builder” event, coordinated by the Building Industry Association of San Diego, added to the enthusiasm that industry professionals have for the expanding possibilities.
BIA’s event gave professionals in a variety of the trades that are essential to successful development the chance to meet builders and developer teams. Such interaction is critical as development takes off.
Although permit data for San Diego County shows multifamily developments outpacing new home builds, developers and other professionals in the industry note that many opportunities for new homes will soon be available.
“We were proud to be a part of the ‘Meet the Builder Event’ this past October, as this industry is back to work,” said Adam Hutchinson, vice president of KirE Builders Inc. “Numerous companies, especially those in rough trades, downsized during the recession, but with builders’ bullish mentality for 2015, those trades are back to work and expanding once again.”
Good news for trades, subcontractors
With such expansion, planning for development must adequately address the issues created by the economic downturn, experts say.
Consider the work of the horticulture industry in new home developments. According to Alan Jones of AJJ Associates/Landscape Resources Inc. in Escondido, landscaping is important to the success of any development. However, the recession forced growers to cut back, resulting in an inadequate supply of quality material.
“The nursery industry basically shut down, making for a shortage of landscape materials now,” said Jones. “It’s not like other industries that can ramp up production and see the results in just a few months. It takes several years to grow quality trees.”
Jones noted it is critical that developers and contractors work with plant procurement professionals to prevent costly redesigns if a landscape architect plans for plant material that is simply not available.
That’s why events such as BIA’s “Meet the Builder” are so important, according to Jones.
“‘Meet the Builder’ events are absolutely off the chart,” said Jones. “It not only gives our company, but many other companies like us, direct contact on a one-to-one basis with the builders and developers.”
Jones added that, by working together, support industries and builders can adequately handle the growing pains that this period of expanding development brings.
Good news for builders
With permitting for new homes strong, many builders do have communities in the works to meet growing demand.
For instance, Ure Kretowicz, chairman and CEO of Cornerstone Communities, anticipates increasingly strong demand for new housing in San Diego over the next four years. He sees his company as being uniquely well-positioned to meet such demand.
Cornerstone Communities, recently named “Builder of the Year” during BIA’s annual ICON Awards, has broken ground on Vista del Sur. This new home community will comprise 413 attached homes spread across three distinct villages, bringing thoughtful design to rapidly developing South San Diego County. Cornerstone expects the grand opening of Vista del Sur’s model homes by first quarter 2015.
Additionally, Cornerstone Communities has four communities currently under construction totaling 881 units, as well as another eight communities, representing 1,273 units, at various stages of the planning process.
With an ongoing affordability crisis in Southern California, KirE Builders believes it is immersed in markets where it can offer a great product at a great value. In March 2014, KirE launched Black Canyon Estates, a single-family home community in Ramona. When complete in 2015, it will offer approximately 10 homes for sale. KirE currently has two homes available in Vista Sereno Esates, an in-fill subdivision of single-family homes in Lemon Grove.
KirE has other projects coming up in 2015, including urban-style row homes in downtown National City. Construction started earlier this year, and sales should start early in 2015. KirE also hopes to start construction on Nickel Creek Townhomes, a 45-unit project in Ramona in the next few months.
With projects underway by the best builders and support from essential trades, the future is bright for the San Diego home market.