Wondering if Southern California real estate will ever rebound?  Well, wonder no more.  Closing a deal that gives hope to the potential of Southern California’s housing recovery, luxury builder Toll Bros. Inc. snatched up a big chunk of land in south Orange County, stating that it will begin work on a massive master-planned community in the very near future. The land was sold by the Baker family in a highly competitive deal that probably topped $100 million, although Toll Bros. did not announce a sales price. The 386-acre development site will include 40 acres of open space.

Toll Bros. has partnered with builder Shea Homes to construct more than 2,000 homes and apartments in the Baker Ranch development in Lake Forest, south Orange County. Economists believe that the involvement of Pennsylvania-based Toll Bros., the largest builder in the luxury niche, is an ‘encouraging sign for the market, jump-starting a long-planned development and infusing it with some high-end cachet.’

“It is the most promising news announced since the bust, and since we have had this very slow turnaround,” said Patrick Duffy, principal of MetroIntelligence Real Estate Advisors. “This is the first big announcement of this kind where they are going after the upper-end buyer, so I think there is the assumption that people are going to be able to sell their existing homes and pull out their equity to move up.”

While Orange County’s housing market appears to be recovering, the market for newly built homes hasn’t shown as much strength. Sales of new homes in Orange County fell 4% in May compared with a year earlier, but the median price rose 7.4% to $602,000.

So when can Orange County real estate followers and investors expect their first thrills?  We’re told that the first homes are expected to be on the market two years after development gets underway this fall.

The master plan for this planned community is very detailed. ‘Toll Bros. and Shea Homes plan to construct more than 1,780 single-family homes and as many as 414 rental units, including several building types priced to attract a broad range of buyers and renters. The development will include an 8.4-acre central park as well as seven smaller neighborhood parks, three private clubs, bicycle paths and walkways.’

This is good news, according to housing economist John Burns, who said that ‘the purchase of the land by Toll Bros. was one of the biggest land buys in the region since the market crumbled nearly five years ago and that Orange County is one of the nation’s most attractive markets for home builders.’

Keep reading Cheryl’s blog to stay in the loop about potential investment and/or new family home opportunities throughout Orange County, including the Baker Ranch development.


For more Orange County real estate news and happenings, follow Cheryl on Twitter @CherylSellsOC or check her on Facebook at CherylSellsOrangeCounty.

Cheryl Marquis has been an active and successful real estate agent in South Orange County, California for more than 25 years. As a TOP PRODUCER in her company, Cheryl has received the specific accreditation of a Certified Relocation Specialist (CRS) and Accredited Buyers Agent (ABR) and is a member of the Who’s Who of Luxury Real Estate, a select network of the world’s leading luxury home agents. Cheryl is a member of C.A.R. (California Association of Realtors), N.A.R. (National Association of Realtors) and O.C.A.R. (Orange County Association of Realtors). To talk to Cheryl about buying or selling a home in Orange County, call her at 949.683.1501 or visit her online at www.CherylSellsOC.com.