Real Estate News Recap: Virtual Realty Makes Impact

The real estate industry is ever changing. And one of the latest revolutionary tech tools making recent real estate news is virtual reality systems.

With the help of a low-flying drone to accurately map a parcel or a building in a fraction of the time than it used to take, virtual reality can create a world that takes people inside a neighborhood of new homes or an office park complex to see and wander at a time even before construction has begun.

It’s now possible for home buyers to look at a field of dirt and use virtual reality to see possible home interiors, adjust floor plans and move furniture. Nothing can sell a client as effectively as seeing themselves living in that space and choosing how they want the morning or evening sun.

Among other news developments in local real estate:

— San Diego has one of the highest concentrations of millennials in the U.S. According to Cushman & Wakefield, 31 percent of county residents are between the ages of 20 to 39. And the majority of millennials are apartment renters. Monthly apartment rentals are at an all-time high with a countywide average of $1,887 as of March 2018, compared with $1,748 a year ago. The only age bracket that comes close to millennials in the county is children from newborns to age 19, who account for 25 percent of the population, followed by people between the ages of 50 to 64 at 18 percent, 65 and older at 14 percent, and 40 to 49 at 12 percent.

— New-home in-fill projects in the North County are planned in Carlsbad and Encinitas. A 3.8-acre parcel in Carlsbad approved for 12 lots recently sold for nearly $4.3 million. The buyer of the parcel on Buena Vista Road was California West Communities of Carlsbad. In Encinitas, a 5.2-acre parcel on Sage Canyon Drive was recently sold for $4.4 million. The property is about one mile northeast of the Manchester Avenue ramp to Interstate 5. The property bought by Pacific Canyon LLC has a tentative map for 10 single-family lots.

— In commercial real estate: In Solana Beach, a 1.9-acre site on South Highway 101 that currently has two vacant single-family homes, a vacant coffee kiosk and a former mobile home park is planned to be transformed from an eyesore to a mixed-use development featuring office space, a restaurant and retail space and 25 condominium units ranging in size from 940 to 1,310 square feet (construction is tentatively slated to start in May 2019 and finish in fall 2020); In Escondido, the El Norte Center on West El Norte Parkway, featuring three buildings and 15,297 square feet on 1.6-acres, was recently sold for $4.1 million; In Del Mar Heights, two office buildings at 12651 and 12671 High Bluff Drive were recently sold for $43 million; In Escondido, an office and warehouse building at 2066 Aldergrove Ave. recently sold for nearly $4.9 million.

— The City of San Diego, as part of an ongoing plant o address the housing crisis and homeless population, has announced a $50 million pool that been established to spend on affordable housing. It will include $20 for affordable rental housing with supportive services for the homeless, $20 million for affordable rental units for low-income San Diegans and $10 million to rehabilitate affordable rental units or extend their affordability. The $50 million will be administered by the city’s Housing Commission.

— A recent survey of San Diegans show a strong majority (66 percent) favor allowing owners of second homes to rent them out on a short-term basis, a practice that some cities have opposed. Some cities have wanted to regulate vacation rentals and rein-in the growing use of second homes and investor properties for short-term stays of under 30 days. The County Registrar of Voters is currently checking if there are enough valid signatures on petitions to force a public vote on the practice.

— The median price of a home in San Diego County rose by 8 percent in July 2018, compared with the same month a year earlier. According to CoreLogic, the median price of a San Diego County home was $579,750 in July, up from $537,000 in July 2017. The $579,750 median home price is the highest price in history, the previous record was $575,000 in May. A total of 3,607 homes were sold in July in the county, down 3.5 percent from 3,739 during the same month the previous year. The median price of a Southern California home was $530,000 in July, down 1.3 percent from the record high of $537,000 in June and up 5.8 percent from $501,000 in July 2017.

— Proposition 13 could be partly undone in 2020. A coalition of government groups, social justice organizations, affordable housing advocates and teachers unions recently submitted signatures for a measure that would significantly increase property taxes on California businesses and generate tens of billions in revenue for local and state governments. If it qualifies for the 2020 ballot, which is likely, it would mark the first time in decades that voters would have a chance to change a key provision in Proposition 13, the landmark 1978 ballot measure that placed stringent caps on California property taxes, making them some of the lowest in the country for both residential and commercial property.

— Amazon has opened its new 85,000-square-foot space at 10300 Campus Point Drive in the Campus Pointe office complex in the University Town Center area of San Diego. The company’s San Diego Tech Hub will create 300 new high-tech jobs in such fields as software development, machine learning, cloud computing and digital entertainment. This expansion will allow the company to more than double its tech workforce in the area. Together with its customer fulfillment facilities, Amazon said it has created more than 39,000 jobs in California and since 2011 invested over $19 billion in the state, including infrastructure and compensation to its employees.