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Williams Homes expands projects in Ventura County

Posted: June 15, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 15, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Williams Homes purchased lots in the hills of Santa Paula overlooking Heritage Valley. The Ridgeview home development is the builder’s third project in the Ventura County area.

Santa Clarita builder Williams Homes has been busy building in Ventura Country, and plans to begin construction of single-family homes in Fillmore within 60 days.

And owner Lance Williams says business is the best it has been in six years.

Williams Homes has been acquiring home development sites in foreclosure in the areas of Santa Paula and Fillmore. The Oak Haven gated community project in Fillmore includes 34 homes, three of which are existing model homes.

“We acquired the note and foreclosed back in summer of 2012,” said Lance Williams, president. “And then we foreclosed in December.”

Prices on the Fillmore homes will range in the high $200,000s, he said.

The original developer of the Oak Haven community at The Bridges located next to Highway 126 was Griffin Homebuilding Group, which built 35 homes of the 70-home project between 2006 and 2008.

The remaining home site lots have sat as dirt lots since the company informed the city of Fillmore in March 2010 that it was filing for bankruptcy and would cease operations, according to city of Fillmore documents. The homebuilder defaulted on loans with Comerica Bank.

Williams Homes bought the note from the bank and received the floor plans, Williams said, but it has to pay the impact fees to build.

More projects

Another project Williams Home developed was Chapel Lanes, just west of downtown Fillmore, which just closed out in the spring, he said.

The homebuilder’s third project, located in Santa Paula, is the Ridgeview development. The company bought that project from City National Bank, Williams said.

“We’re building homes on 46 lots,” he said. “Ridgeview is way at the top of the hills in Santa Paula, and you can see all the way back to Santa Clarita through Heritage Valley.”

The Ridgeview homes are ranging from the low $300,000s to $399,000.

Both the Fillmore and Santa Paula developments will begin construction in about 60 days, Williams said.

Both housing communities are to be built in phases, he said. There are four phases in Santa Paula and three in Fillmore. The plan is to build about 10 homes at a time and when three-quarters of them are sold, the company plans to begin building the next phase at each site.

“Some of the homes will be built and ready to go in the fall,” Williams said. “They’re finished lots.”

Privately held, Williams Homes was begun by Lance Williams in 1997. During the past decade, the builder has delivered homes ranging from $159,000 to in excess of $1 million.

The smaller homebuilder has weathered rough economic waters, in part, by looking for distressed properties of other homebuilders, particularly those with finished lots, and building smaller developments.


“We’ve been buying a lot of those deals,” Williams said.

Because of its size, the homebuilder looks for development prospects outside the local region where it says the impact fees for building are less than the Santa Clarita Valley.

Impact fees average around $80,000 per home in the SCV, according to Holly Schroeder, CEO of the Building Industry Association’s Los Angeles/Ventura chapter. Impact fees include charges for local school districts, street construction, sanitation, water districts and Los Angeles County services, such as fire and law enforcement services. Fees from Castaic Water Agency run the highest.

Williams Homes strategy of scouting deals and building smaller developments outside the region is paying off.

Traffic and sales is up at all of the homebuilder’s properties, Williams said.

“We haven’t seen this in six years,” he said. “It’s a big deal and it’s great — we’re very excited about it.” 


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