Home Construction Returns to Inland Empire

When the housing market imploded in 2006, it derailed housing developments nationwide, but nowhere was home building more affected by the downturn than the inland areas of Riverside and San Bernardino counties, Calif. After the bursting of the real estate bubble, housing developments stalled in Riverside, Chino, Temecula, Ontario, Banning, Coachella, Lake Elsinore, Murrieta, Rancho Cucamonga, San Jacinto and Redlands.

Now, home builders are slowly testing the market, reviving stalled developments after lying dormant during the recession.

In Spring Mountain Ranch, a 785-acre master-planned community where 1,400-homes are planned, KB Homes bought two parcels with 247 lots from iStar Financial Corp., the owner/developer, according to The Press Enterprise reporter Debra Gruszecki. Within the next month KB plans open six model homes in the Pigeon Pass area of the development which is located in northeast Riverside east of the Interstate 215.

Further west, construction crews are again busy at Arantine Hills, a 276-acre development in Corona, west of Interstate 15, which is being built by the New Home Company, report The Press Enterprise.

And Las Vegas developer New West Development is kick-starting a massive new development known as La Entrada, a 2,200-acre community east of Interstate 10 on the outskirts of Coachella, where 7,200 new homes are planned, according to The  Desert Sun.

Few regions were hit harder than the Inland Empire during the recession. While the  Inland Empire is no longer awash in foreclosures, its unemployment rate is still remains high. The Inland Empire unemployment rate was 9.2 percent in July, compared with 8.7 in Los Angeles County and 5.7 percent in Orange County, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But the Inland Empire economy is slowly improving. Across the region developers are looking to jumpstart residential communities that were started, but never finished. Gruszecki reports that builders pulled 1,811 building permits in Riverside County in the first five months of 2014.

What are your thoughts?

Is there demand for new homes in the desert far away from Southern California’s job centers in Los Angeles and Orange counties?

Is this sustainable?

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