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Report Calls For Orange County to Build More Housing

April 14th, 2015

Long a land of plenty for home buyers and builders alike, Orange County is running out of room. If it hopes to keep growing, the vast suburbia needs to change its ways.

That’s the thrust of a new report out Tuesday from the influential Orange County Business Council, which estimated that the county of 3.1 million already faces a shortfall of 62,000 homes and apartments to meet the needs of its workforce.

If job and housing projections hold true, that shortfall will deepen to 100,000 by 2040, the report says, making it harder for young families to find a place to live and for businesses to find high-quality employees.

“We already lose more than we should,” said Wallace Walrod, the Business Council’s chief economic advisor and author of the report. “This has long-term consequences for our economic competitiveness.”

The study, the council’s “Housing Scorecard,” is the latest in a string of calls lately to create more housing in Southern California, which is among the nation’s least-affordable housing markets.

Late last year, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a goal of adding 100,000 homes in the city by 2021. Last month, the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office issued a report saying 100,000 or more homes a year — mostly in coastal regions — are needed to keep already sky-high housing costs from dragging down California’s economy.

In Orange County, where home buyers have flocked for decades seeking a slice of the suburban life, the call to build more comes with a twist. There’s no longer enough open land to keep building vast tracts of single-family homes, the report says. The future lives in a town house.

“The era of big master-planned communities is not quite over, but it’s ending,” Walrod said. “The kind of development that’s going on in Orange County is fundamentally changing. It’s going to be more infill, mixed-use, high-density development.”

But in many parts of Southern California, high-density housing remains a tough sell. Orange County is no exception. The Business Council’s report cites environmental regulations and lawsuits as well as neighborhood opposition as two of the chief hurdles blocking more construction.

Winning local approvals for an “infill” project — typically denser redevelopment in an existing neighborhood — can take 18 months to two years, said Scott Laurie, chief executive of Olson Homes, a Seal Beach-based builder that specializes in those sort of projects. Picking the right site, winning over the neighbors and designing a project that makes sense economically all take time too.

“This is not the type of building that you see in outlying areas,” Laurie said. “This is a different business.”

But, he said, there is high demand. Olson Homes just sold out a development in Fullerton and is about to launch sales on 45 town houses in Huntington Beach, with strong early interest. Many buyers are willing to make trade-offs for a manageable commute and a good neighborhood.

“They’ll say, ‘I may not have a big house on a big lot,’” he said. “But I’m 15 minutes from work, I can walk to things and I have great schools.”

That’s the sort of thinking that led Roderick and Toni Ashford to The Groves, a new KB Home development in Fullerton. The couple recently relocated from Washington state for work, and were looking for someplace close to his job and their children’s school in Long Beach.

They looked at single-family homes in Orange County and around Long Beach, but soon tossed that idea aside. Everything was too expensive. Then they found a 2,100-square-foot town house in Fullerton for $540,000. They took it.

“It’s very expensive everywhere,” Toni Ashford said. “This is a good price for us.”

For some, the lure of a big house at a relatively low cost is still worth commuting from Riverside County, where the median home price in February was roughly half of Orange County’s, according to CoreLogic Dataquick. Maria Lopez, a real estate agent with Redfin in Chino and Corona, has seen a noticeable uptick lately of priced-out buyers moving east.

“For what you pay in Anaheim Hills or Yorba Linda, you can cross the 71 [Freeway] into Corona and get the same size property for a couple of hundred thousand dollars less,” she said. “People will make that trade for an extra 15 minutes’ drive.”

In the long run, though, that commute poses a big challenge for Orange County, said Esmael Adibi, an economist at Chapman University. If companies can’t find the workers they need, they’ll eventually move to where the people are, be that the Inland Empire or all the way to Texas. With an aging population, places like Orange County need to make sure they’ve got room to house the next generation.

“Everything else being equal, housing costs are a major, major factor to slowing down growth,” Adibi said.

And that’s what has the Business Council worried.

Orange County has already seen its age 25-to-34 population shrink 7% over the last 15 years, Walrod said. Nearly 40% of Orange County workers commute more than an hour a day. And at current trends, in 10 years half of the county’s homeowners will be over age 65.

If all that keeps up, Walrod said, Orange County won’t have the workers it needs to keep growing, unless it builds enough places for them all to live.

“If you look out five, 10, 20 years, the picture really becomes clear,” he said. Housing “can either be a huge positive for the area, or it can be our Achilles’ heel.”

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times

The Olson Company Achieves #1 Rank In Customer Service Experience

April 10th, 2015


Eliant, the largest consumer research company in the country, has ranked The Olson Company #1 among major U.S. builders in homeowner satisfaction. The results, gleaned from more than 60,000 new homeowner satisfaction surveys, showed that The Olson Company received a score of 98.4 percent for its customer service experience at 5 months and 10 months after move-in. According to the firm, the average customer satisfaction ratings of the 125-plus homebuilders are typically in the 86 to 88 percent range. “We are honored and proud of our team’s collective efforts,” said Scott Laurie, CEO of The Olson Company. “Achieving the number #1 ranking from Eliant is a reflection of our ongoing commitment to provide industry leading homeowner satisfaction to our homebuyers.” Eliant CEO Bob Mirman added, “The Olson Company has won continuous awards from the Eliant Homebuyers’ Choice Awards competition for the past 4 years. This consistent dedication to customer satisfaction makes The Olson Company a leader within the national homebuilder community.” Founded in 1988 by Steve Olson, the Seal Beach-based company has completed scores of communities and has several others under construction, nearing completion or planned. Pictured at the company’s Plaza Walk project in Cerritos are, from left, Bill Holford, president Olson Communities; Matt Savio, vice president of homeowner satisfaction; and Scott Laurie, CEO of The Olson Company. Plaza Walk, located at 18810 Pioneer Blvd., includes 25 townhomes ranging in size from 1,266 square feet to 1,821 square feet. The units are priced in the mid-$400,000s and offer up to four bedrooms and three bathrooms. The sales office is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 562/370-9501. 

George Economides – Long Beach Business Journal

Price Reduced on Final Home!

March 13th, 2015

Ivy Walk Lot 5-20

Last Chance!
Only One Home Left!

Lot 5 – Plan 2

• 1,687 sq. ft.
• 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths
• Close to Claremont Colleges and University of La Verne
• Easy freeway access
• Near Claremont Village
• Caesarstone kitchen countertops
• Upgraded flooring
• White cabinets
• Last home in a beautiful new community
• Great schools
• Walking distance to downtown

$539,000  $519,990

Last Chance to Own at Ivy Walk!

February 13th, 2015

Ivy Walk Lot 5-20

This beautiful home is the last home remaining at Ivy Walk!
Don’t miss the opportunity to own a new home in this great Claremont community!

 You’ll fall in love with this plan 2 (lot 5) home that has 3 bedrooms plus loft, 2.5 baths and 1,687 sq. ft. and is ready for move-in this February. This home offers contemporary white cabinets, Caesarstone kitchen counters and a kitchen island. The open plan is ideal for entertaining and is located a mile from Claremont Village.
Priced at $549,900.

Call (562) 370-9500  for more details and to schedule an appointment.

Ivy Walk is Called Home!

January 30th, 2015

Field Walk 134

Homeowners have moved in and are calling Ivy Walk home. This is a great community located close to shopping, dinning and entertainment. Act now to be a part of this new home community, only one home remains.

The last and final home offers 3 bedrooms plus loft, 2.5 baths in 1,687 square feet of living space and is ready for move-in next month. The open plan is ideal for entertaining and is only priced at $549,900

Call (562) 370-9500 for more details or to schedule an appointment.

Open House at Ivy Walk!

January 23rd, 2015


Open House from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday at Ivy Walk!

Don’t miss out! There is only 1 home left at Ivy Walk in Claremont!

This homes offers 3 bedrooms plus loft, 2.5 baths in 1,687 square feet of living space and is ready for move-in this February. The open plan is ideal for entertaining and is only priced at $542,220.

Ivy Walk is a great community located close to dining, shopping and entertainment.

Call (562) 370-9500 for more details or to schedule an appointment.

Only 1 Home Remains!

January 16th, 2015

Last chance to own at Ivy Walk! Only 1 home remains. Homeowners have already moved in and are calling Ivy Walk home. These homes are centrally located to shopping, dining and entertainment.

Ivy Walk’s last home offers 3 bedrooms plus loft and 2.5 baths in 1,687 square feet of living space. This is a beautiful new home community and you don’t want to miss the chance to call Ivy Walk home.

Call (562) 370-9500 for more information and to schedule an appointment today.

Only 2 Homes Remaining!

December 19th, 2014

Plan 3R: Exterior

Ivy Walk only has 2 homes remaining so don’t miss out on this opportunity to own near the beautiful Claremont Village.
Many homeowners have already moved in and are celebrating the holidays in their new homes
Centrally located to shopping, dining and entertainment, Ivy Walk Homes offer up to 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths in up to 1,687 square feet of living space.
Stop in today for more details.

Great Rate Event!

December 12th, 2014



Let Olson Homes help you own that new home that you’ve been dreaming of.

For a limited time, we are offering a 3.375%* interest rate on a 30 year fixed loan on the home listed below. That’s right, you can live worry free for the next 30 years! Stop by today and get more details.

Lot 7  – Plan 2

•    1,687 Sq. Ft.
•    3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths
•    Granite kitchen countertops
•    White contemporary Kitchen cabinets
•    Walk to the Claremont Village
•    Payments as low as $1,937
•    S547,581

*Special interest rate only on selected homesite listed above. Rate is subject to change based on buyer credit worthiness and other factors. Payment is factored with 20% down and is principal and interest. Taxes, insurance and HOA dues are not included.

Black Friday Sales Event!

November 25th, 2014

Black Friday only comes once a year and you do not want to miss this limited time opportunity.
Lot 7 has special Black Friday pricing of $539,990. In addition to an amazing price, ask about the 3.375% interest rate available on this home. The beautiful plan 2 home is located on a corner lot. This 1,687 square foot home has 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths and is ready and waiting for you to come home for the holidays.
Stop by this Friday and see why Ivy Walk is perfect for you and your lifestyle.

As an added bonus, print or show this post and you will receive a gift card to the movies*! It’s that simple.

*While Supplies Last