Market challenges fail to slow Pardee construction


As new home construction numbers slip nationwide, Pardee Homes continues to move forward, just at a little slower pace, according to Beth Fischer, San Diego division president.

The slowdown has also altered the company’s plans for a retail center, which remains on the drawing board, she said.

New home construction nationwide fell by 6.3 percent from August to September and production is the lowest it has been since 1945, the United States Department of Commerce reported.

In the western states, there was a 46.5 percent drop from September 2007.

Meanwhile, Pardee construction is buzzing along off Carmel Mountain Road in the developing communities of Carmel Country Highlands.

Large two-story homes are sprouting up with details like shutters and turrets, some mixing in brick facades and swooping roofs. The Highlands features homes ranging from three to six bedrooms, from 2, 253 square foot houses in the Bridle Ridge neighborhood to 4,587 square foot abodes in the Derby Hill division.

Grading also continues on the company’s Shaw Larenz project in Del Mar Mesa, where homes should be available in 2009, Fischer said.

“We are faring as others are in the home building and development industry,” Fischer said. “Business is down and we are cutting back accordingly.”

They are also still pulling new home permits - more slowly, she but still pulling, she added.

Prices holding

While the sales volume is down from the market peak in 2005, Fischer said, Pardee homes in the family-friendly Carmel Valley community are still selling.

“Prices are holding and we are still selling, albeit at a slower pace,” said Fischer. “We are blessed to have some of the best-selling communities in the county.”

Home prices have dropped about 12 percent since the heyday of 2005 when homes went for as much as $1.5 million, but Carmel Valley homes still have some of the highest price tags in the city, according to Todd Van Ness, Coldwell Banker branch manager.

The average selling price for homes in the county is $426,964; in Carmel Valley, the median selling price in September, the midway point between the highest and lowest prices, was $950,000, Van Ness said.

The Building Industry Association names Pardee as the number one builder in the county and considers its Carriage Run development off Cantor Heights Road to be one of the top 10 projects in San Diego.

Van Ness said that Carmel Valley’s popularity is due to three factors: great schools, coastal location and proximity to major work centers.

And home builder Pardee’s popularity is not a surprise to Van Ness.

“Pardee is in touch with the current trends and lifestyles,” said Van Ness, noting that their nice open floor plans appeal to buyers.

Village still on track

The 27-acre site of the mixed-use Pacific Highlands Ranch Village Center still sits vacant and will for some time, as most of its development rests on the completion of the Interstate 5/Highway 56 connector project.

Proposition M capped development of Pacific Highlands Ranch at 1,900 units until the freeways connect. About 1,445 permits have been pulled in total.

A portion of the Village, which would include a “boutique” grocery store and a few commercial buildings, could be built first under the cap, which allows only 50,000 square foot of commercial space before the connectors.

Fischer said the Pardee is team is still working on a tentative map submittal for the Village.

“Any construction and opening is dependent upon the market,” Fischer said. “But given engineering and architectural timelines, it could not occur before 2010.”

The plans had always been for the grocery store to open by 2010, with the rest of the village aiming toward 2013.