Lancaster’s Building Stimulus Program surpasses goals

One of the most notable participants has been KB Home, which has built 12 tracts in Lancaster as part of the program.

One of the most notable participants has been KB Home, which has built 12 tracts in Lancaster as part of the city’s Building Incentive Stimulus Program.

LANCASTER – At a time when new home construction has remained stubbornly low throughout most of Southern California, Lancaster has seen 634 new single-family homes permitted, along with 38 new commercial/industrial buildings since February 2010, city officials announced Wednesday.

This success is due to the city’s Building Incentive Stimulus Program, which has surpassed its goals to generate home and commercial growth throughout the Lancaster, according to a city press release.

Launched in 2010, the program has generated numerous jobs, stimulated business growth, and generated more than $7.8 million in fee revenues for the city.

“The Building Incentive Stimulus Program continues to encourage development, create jobs, and stimulate our local economy. As with some of our other innovative programs, this program can be replicated throughout the nation,” said Mayor R. Rex Parris.

At the core of the program has been Lancaster’s decision to reduce and defer development impact fees up to 30 percent in select parts of the city.

KB Homes 2

Lancaster has seen 634 new single-family homes permitted, along with 38 new commercial/industrial buildings since 2010. Total valuation of these permits is $147.2 million

A number of homebuilders have taken advantage of Lancaster’s incentive program, which provided 20 percent discounts on development impact fees throughout the city, and 30 percent reductions within the downtown corridor within the first year it was offered.

When the City extended the program in 2011, a 25 percent discount was offered on development impact fees for new homes within existing tracts, which had been abandoned by the original developers before construction had been completed; as well as a deferral on impact fees related to commercial projects. In mid-2012 the City extended the program for an additional year.

“Recovery of construction jobs and new housing is vital to sustaining the nation’s economic recovery.  Cities will recover faster once they take a hard look at the fees they are assessing to determine if construction is economically viable. When fees are 25-35% of the price of a home, it seems out of step with the current economy.  Lancaster took a dramatic step with their program several years ago, and has seen an increase in housing production in the past few years. The City of Lancaster’s Building Stimulus Program has become a model for cities throughout the region,” said Holly Schroeder, CEO of the Los Angeles Ventura Chapter of the Building Industry Association.

One of the most notable participants has been KB Home, which has built 12 tracts in Lancaster as part of the program. In all, 22 previously abandoned tracts have been positively affected by this program, of which 14 have been completed.

In many cases, homebuilders have purchased finished lots in subdivisions that had once been abandoned. This has allowed builders to complete these communities, creating new jobs for area residents. According to the Building Industry Association of Southern California, the average fees charged on a new single-family house are approximately $60,000, between local and county fees, with some communities still demanding upwards of $100,000 or more per home.

“The city’s decision to reduce development impact fees has allowed us to build more homes and move more aggressively into developing sustainable communities throughout Lancaster,” said Tom Di Prima, executive vice president of KB Home’s Southern California division. “As a national homebuilder, we laud initiatives that simplify the building process for us, create jobs, and encourage commerce for the community. Hopefully this program can serve as a model for other cities in California as they consider ways to promote further growth and development.”

Nationwide, it is estimated that each new home built results in three new construction jobs and one new long-term job.

(Information via press release from the city of Lancaster.)

  12 comments for “Lancaster’s Building Stimulus Program surpasses goals

  1. dumbandblind
    April 29, 2013 at 12:24 am

    Don’t hold your breath. Redefaults Rising at Alarming Rate!

    Here is SIGTARP’s Quarterly Report to Congress:

    And here are the home losses in real time:

    Just enter: Palmdale and Lancaster in your search fields.

  2. QHR
    January 31, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    I’m surprised that the new community at Ave L and 70th West sold out as fast as it did. It was joint by KB and Richmond. Prices are going up there because there is low inventory now and another developer/builder has not moved in that area.

    • Code Red
      April 29, 2013 at 7:52 pm

      That “low inventory” is BS. Banks have not been taking possession of their foreclosures because they don’t want to upset their reserves. Also, On the same note, maybe few vacant houses on the market, however, check the water company, lots of meters turned off. Any fool knows what that means…no one lives there. It is a empty house. There are thousands of houses without water.

    January 31, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    I too purchased a high end home to have KB come in and finish a tract of homes which are not near the quality. Sad, it attracts neighbors I thought I would never have. Time comes, if it does to sell and move. Have been living here 35 yrs and disgusted. :(

    • William
      January 31, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      KB has the worst homes. They have the oddest floor plans, little architectural interest other than some decorative shutters or facades. They are usually boxes with little or no roof overhangs/eaves, I suspect because if they did, they would be too close to the adjacent property line.

      I looked at some KB homes back in the 90s that had wood-grain contact paper on the kitchen cabinets.

      You can tell when some home builders love designing nice homes, even if they aren’t high end. KB looks like they are just in it for the money and little else. And, it shows.

      They are the McDonald’s of home builders.

  4. Lynn
    January 31, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Stimulus for who? Section 8 householders? Thanks again current Lancaster city council and Rex Parris, for ensuring that our underwater mortgages will remain so even longer.

  5. Nikolas
    January 31, 2013 at 11:48 am

    At some point, suburban sprawl must cease. We cannot continue to build cities further and further out. It is completely unsustainable.

    I’d prefer to see Lancaster focus on developing the core of the city, with 2-4 story “high end” apartments and condos, relocation of jobs, businesses, transportation hubs, etc.

    Ideally, it would be possible to live in the core of the city and be able to walk to where you work, buy your groceries, entertainment, social events, etc.

    • John Howard
      January 31, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      oh, you mean like the BLVD? Nah… that will never work.. people around here just don’t get that concept of living and can only criticize the effort that has been made so far..

      Some people can see the future and are taking the steps to insure our community grows with the changes in the urban landscape, others just complain about things because they are completely incapable of accepting that change. change is good… get with the program..

      • Nikolas
        January 31, 2013 at 1:36 pm

        Fortunately, Gen X and Gen Y are leaning more towards living in city-centers… There has been a massive influx of these younger generations moving back into the big cities (L.A., San Fran, Chicago, New York, San Diego, Austin, etc.).

        These younger folks (my age and younger) are learning lessons from their parents. Who wants to drive to work AT ALL? Isn’t it much more convenient and less costly to walk everywhere, or when you do need to drive, you only need to drive a few miles?

        Not everyone wants a 2300sq.ft. home on 10,000 sq ft lots (or larger)….. The city economic development office needs to be ahead of the sustainability curve and lead the way. This is the future, whether baby boomers like it or not. ;-)

        • William
          January 31, 2013 at 2:22 pm

          One of the attractive features of the Antelope Valley is w i d e
          o p e n spaces.

          The BLVD is claustrophobic, yet not really that intimate. Comparing the BLVD to other cities with real downtowns is ridiculous. It’s not San Fransisco and neither is it Carmel or Monterey.

          I lived in both those cities, SF and Monterey, and, trust me, Lancaster ain’t in the ballpark. The parking and traffic will only get worse as the high density apartments and condos fill up creating a congested urban feel in the middle of the desert. What the heck?

        • William
          January 31, 2013 at 2:27 pm

          You will want a 2300 sq.ft. house on a 10,000 sq.ft. lot when you get older when you tire of living shoulder to shoulder.

          Extra space for yourself will be a bigger luxury than all the toys you might buy.

          Why don’t you live in LA instead of wanting Lancaster to be like LA?

  6. Lancaster Citizen
    January 31, 2013 at 8:26 am

    I am at odds for this story. I’m happy for the residents in the tracks that are being finished, and I would want that if I lived there. Also, the jobs created were very valuable to our community. However, the more housing available during this delicate real estate healing, the lower the prices. The rest of us will suffer with a slower recovery on the value of our homes. Many people are upside down. My home (in a nice neighborhood) is worth about what I paid for it in 1990. Not a very good investment.

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