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New Home: From IPO To Lotsa Shovels

A few months after New Home Company went public, it's taking the Bay Area condo market by storm by gearing up to start hundreds of units from Foster City to Lafayette this year. 

Regional VP Charles McKeag, here in his Walnut Creek office, is especially excited about the new Lafayette development on the two and a half acres it closed on in March. Called Woodbury, the 56 for-sale flats and condos will replace a blighted aging apartment complex and restaurant. Model-home construction will begin in August, with a grand opening for Q1 2015. He thinks the project will be a win-win because Lafayette has an extremely low supply of new housing, so anything that comes on the market is highly desired. That, and it's in walking distance to downtown shops, restaurants and the BART station. He's a fan of the nearby Lafayette Reservoir, where he goes boating once a week.

The New Home Company was founded in 2009, and in early 2011 Charles and his colleague Brian Olin opened its operation in the Bay Area. That operation has now grown into a group that's pushing 30 full-time staff, with a development pipeline boasting over 1,000 homes. Its recently entitled 400-unit senior-oriented project in Foster City and 76-unit condo project in San Mateo are both getting ready to start construction over the course of the next quarter. Its Rose Lane project is open and for sale in Larkspur, offering a mix of senior condos and traditional single-family detached homes. (The Terrace condos, pictured.) Models are opening later this summer to show off New Home’s new 239-unit town home and condo project in San Jose called Orchard Park.

Residents in their mid-50s to mid-60s who are thinking about downsizing out of their existing home would be a good fit for Lafayette's 36 flats, says Charles. They may be giving up a large yard and more square footage but the flats are designed with enough space to entertain friends and family, he says (up to 2,900 SF). (Don't tell that to friends and family or they're going to want to come over.) The standalone 20-unit condo building, which will likely start in the $800k price range, is great for young couples who might not have what it takes to buy a fixer-upper for $1M but want to establish roots in the market and the school district, he says. Charles indicates that New Home wouldn't have entertained going the rental route in Lafayette because the floor plans are sized too large to be successful as rentals. And building rental product isn’t really New Home’s biz model.