Real estate experts encouraged by strength gained by San Diego housing market

Local sales climbing despite economic woes

SAN DIEGO - Real estate experts and homebuilders are encouraged by the San Diego housing market's recent gains.

"We're starting to see things turn around. You know, the phone's ringing and we're getting a lot of leads," said John Arledge, who runs his own design and building company called ADB (Arledge Design and Build).

He said things just started picking up in the last month or two after years of being hammered by a bad economy.

"It's really new, that this is happening, so it's hard to put a number on it," said Arledge.

The California Association of Realtors has a number for resales. By the end of 2012, the group is forecasting 5.1 percent growth in single-family home resales, but in 2013, only 1.3 percent growth.

"I think you're going to see just a slow movement upward," said Joe Anfuso with the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate at the University of San Diego.

The center sponsored its 13th annual Residential Real Estate Conference Wednesday morning, which looked at the housing outlook for 2013. Anfuso said the panel discussion contained something they haven't seen in years.

"A sense of enthusiasm about what's going on in the marketplace, that we've reached a bottom and that we'll be moving up from here," said Anfuso.

Anfuso said while resales should grow slowly, new construction may be less active because San Diego is constricted by its borders.

"You're not going to see a huge increase in single-family detached developments simply because the lots and the land available in San Diego just isn't there anymore as it used to be," said Anfuso.

Limited supply versus demand is one of the reasons why Anfuso said you can count on real estate in San Diego to bounce back. However, he warns against thinking it's time to repeat the mistakes of the past.

"You shouldn't be buying your house going, 'This is my piggy bank for the future,'" said Anfuso.

Arledge said he will keep his fingers crossed that he can bank on a future that includes a lot more building.

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