The Orange County Register: Orange County builder doubles home sales with lower-price focus

By Jonathan Lansner

New Home Co., a small Orange County-based homebuilder, has seen signed contracts double so far this summer as it focuses on lower-priced housing.

The Aliso Viejo company, which builds in California and Arizona, told investors that its net new home orders totaled 152 in July and August, up 100% from a year ago. The company sold 296 homes in 2020’s first six month — up 11% in a year.

Home sales have been an economic bright spot in a pandemic-ravaged economy.

“Buyers continue to be motivated by low-interest rates and the desire for single-family homeownership, a sentiment that has only grown stronger as a result of the pandemic,” said CEO Leonard Miller, who expects the sales frenzy to “moderate as we head into the end of the year due to normal seasonality.”

The company, once known for its high-end housing, now offers a broader price range among its homes. Its average selling price in the year ended June 30 was $826,000 vs. 2016 when it peaked at $2 million.

Two of its newer Southern California projects are Nova in Rancho Cucamonga, 135 homes with a $400,000 average price, and Sterling in Rancho Mission Viejo, where 60 homes have an average $1 million price tag.

“Our order results for the first two months of the third quarter underscore the strength of the housing market and the appeal of our new home offerings, which are increasingly targeted at the more affordable segments of the market,” said Larry Webb, New Home’s executive chairman.

Homebuilders nationwide are in a good mood. Builder optimism in September, as measured by the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index, reached the highest level in this benchmark’s 35-year history.

In Southern California, DQNews reports builders completed 1,635 sales of newly constructed residences in July — up 33% from April when the economy was suffering its initial coronavirus shock.

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