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May 9, 2005

Prices increasing for new Ranch View Terrace houses

By Louise Donahue

Despite rising costs, interest remains strong for homes in the Ranch View Terrace development on campus.

Artist's sketch: Ranch View

Completion of Ranch View Terrace in 2006 is expected to free up other on-campus housing as people in those units move to the new development.

Construction on the three- and four-bedroom single-family homes for faculty and staff is scheduled to begin this summer.

The first phase of the development is composed of 45 homes: 20 three-bedroom homes and 25 four-bedroom homes. It is scheduled for completion by fall 2006.

The three-bedroom homes, ranging from 1,747 to 1,905 square feet, will be priced from the high $400,000s to high $500,000s, and the four-bedroom homes, with 2,002 to 2,078 square feet, will sell from the mid-$500,000s to the low $600,000s. The prices have gone up about 25 percent from earlier estimates, said Faculty and Staff Housing manager Steve Houser.

“Construction costs have gone through the roof,” Houser said, noting that the problem is not limited to UCSC. UC Irvine’s new for-sale housing has experienced similar cost increases during the last year, he said.

Despite the increases, the campus housing prices compare well against the $879,000 median price of single-family homes in Westside Santa Cruz during March, according to figures from a Multiple Listing Service data search. Faculty and Staff Housing will begin marketing to all eligible employees later this spring.

Houser said 160 employees on Faculty and Staff Housing Office waiting lists had initially indicated interest in the Ranch View Project. A survey of the employees is under way, but so far, of the 89 responses received, 69 are still interested in purchasing a home in Ranch View Terrace, he said.

Construction of these homes could cause a ripple effect throughout campus housing.

“Many of the persons owning our existing stock at Hagar Court, Hagar Meadow, Laureate Court and Cardiff Terrace have expressed interest in larger units,” Houser explained. “We think that many of these persons, who are on our waiting lists, will want to relocate to Ranch View, creating entry-level opportunities for others in existing housing.”

The price range on UCSC’s existing 132-unit housing stock is approximately $130,000 to $272,000 for 875- to 1,100-sqare-foot units.

“That being said, we are aware that there are households, especially single-income households, who will no longer be able to purchase at Ranch View due to the price increases,” Houser said. “This is an unfortunate and undesired consequence of the increased costs of construction.”

Additional phases of Ranch View Terrace--up to 84 homes total--will be constructed if it is determined there is sufficient demand, Houser said. The campus also owns 51 condominiums in Laureate Court that could be sold at a later date. The campus has already sold 13 Laureate Court condos, nine to staff members and four to faculty.

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