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Homebuilder buys more lots for SCV homes

KB Home says its bullish on building houses in the SCV

Posted: March 14, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: March 14, 2013 2:00 a.m.

New homes under construction along Christopher Lane in Saugus last December. KB Home has purchased 54 lots from Newhall Land, on which it will build new SCV homes.

KB Home acquired 54 finished lots in a land purchase agreement with Newhall Land for a new community called Charleston at River Village in Santa Clarita, the homebuilder announced on Wednesday.

Model home construction is currently underway, with plans to open this new community to home shoppers in the spring, said a spokesman for KB Home.

The builder expects to offer five two-story floor plans, which include up to six bedrooms, four-and-a-half baths, and range in size from 3,413 to 4,511 square feet, the company said in a press release. Some of the “Built to Order” options include sun rooms, first-floor junior suites and large walk-in dual closets in the master bedroom.

“Recent activity in the market and our sell-out success at other communities in the area has proven there is a great demand for new homes here,” said Tom Di Prima, executive vice president of KB Home’s Southern California division.

In addition to the most recent purchase, KB Home has three or four other projects it’s currently working on in Santa Clarita, he said. But this project is within walking distance to shopping, sitting between Soledad Canyon and Newhall Ranch roads off Bouquet Canyon, he said.“We’re very bullish on housing,” Di Prima said. “We’re very focused on the fact that we’ve seen growth from the coast and moving inland. Things are just continuing to improve and stabilize.”

In the Santa Clarita market specifically, Di Prima said that the market has really begun recovering strongly; and KB Home is seeing strong new home sales, he said.

“We watched the housing inventory go from years, to months, to weeks of supply,” he said. “Anyone trying to buy a home in this market knows how difficult it is.”

KB Home is starting to see more buyers who have equity in their homes, taking advantage of the lower interest rates to trade their existing house for a new, slightly more expensive new home, yet making lower payments due to the low interest rate, Di Prima he said.

The homebuilder is also seeing first time buyers returning to the market, he said. During the recession, many of those buyers saw their careers and incomes flourish and just put a lot of money away to save for a house, he said.

“Their buying capacity has gone up with historically low interest rates and they are now returning to the market, he said.

Di Prima’s ongoing fear is that supply in the new home category will not be able to keep up with the demand he sees coming.

This downturn is unlike any other one Di Prima’s been through, he said. Everything stopped in the land development arena, nothing was entitled, and there’s not always enough land ready to go for building, he said.

“I could really see us getting into a constrained housing market moving forward,” Di Prima said.

As for the new homes KB Home is building, they’re building larger homes again after customer surveys indicated that buyers are looking for more bedrooms and more flexible floor plans, said the spokesman.

The Charleston at River Village homes are located in the Saugus Unified School District.

“We hope Charleston at River Village is one of many opportunities we will have to once again collaborate with KB Home in the future,” said Greg McWilliams, president of Newhall Land.

Shares of KB Home, one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, rose with shares trading at $20.29 at close of trading on Wednesday.


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