Subdivision work stalled in Carson

Developers fought to get one of the city's largest subdivisions approved more than two years ago, but not one room at the Shulz Ranch has been built.


Work on the 521-home development in South Carson City might not start any time soon either.


Shulz Ranch Developers, managed by Lennar Communities in Reno, defaulted on a $26 million loan on the property last month.


Local and regional representatives could not be reached for comment on the property, but Marshall Ames, a representative for the Fla.-based company, one of the largest developers in the country, said the company "doesn't chat about individual communities."


Work on subdivisions being developed by other companies has also been slow. More than half of the nearly 2,000 vacant home lots were approved by the city after the start of 2006.


Home sales in the city last year were half of what they were in 2002, and the average home sale price rose more than $100,000 in that time.


The market, however, is getting better this year, at least for the 1,075-home Silver Oak subdivision, said Mark Turner, a sales agent for the developer.


Prices for the homes have dropped about a third, he said, but the worst time for business was in the last two years. The company has about 475 lots left to sell.


But the slow housing market, said Rick DeMar, director of the Builders Association of Western Nevada, has caused builders to delay construction for a good reason.


"You're not going to make more widgets than you can sell," he said.


The effect has hurt some developers like Lennar, however. Last month, the company reported its lowest quarterly sales in eight years.


If more planned subdivisions aren't being built, then, DeMar said, "you can't say, 'Boo, this is a bad developer.' They're just being good businessmen."


A lot of businesses have had to ask the city for extensions for required planning deadlines, said Walt Sullivan, city development services director.


"Work has been really slow," he said.


The number of building permits for homes in the city dropped by more than half from 2006 to 2007.


A slow down in home construction should not be a surprise with the country's building and credit problems, though, said Bambi Spahr, director of the Reno-based Builders Association of Northern Nevada.


"They're not building 'A Field of Dreams,'" she said.




• Contact reporter Dave Frank at dfrank@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.




Carson City housing market at a glance


2002


Homes sold: 1,106


Average price: $202,000




2003


Homes sold: 1,104


Average price: $230,000




2004


Homes sold: 1,033


Average price: $285,000




2005


Homes sold: 900


Average price: $341,000




2006


Homes sold: 615


Average price: $346,000




2007


Homes sold: 446


Average price: $332,000




2008 (Jan.)


Homes sold: 42


Average price: $353,000




Vacant home lots on approved major developments since 2006


Schulz Ranch - 521


Summerhawk - 201


Mills Landing - 94


Clearview Ridge - 75


Newport Village - 43


Combs Canyon - 42




Home building permits issued in Carson City


2006 - 111


2007 - 42


2008 (through March) - 7

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