The article also misidentified the Sutterpointe development in east Patterson.
The Irrigator regrets the errors.
Long gone are the days of 2006, when Patterson was the third fastest-growing city in the state. But the housing market started to make a comeback in 2012 to match modest population growth.
According to estimates released May 1 by the California Department of Finance, Patterson’s population grew from Jan. 1, 2012, to Jan. 1, 2013, by 236 people to a total of 20,846 — a 1.1 percent increase.
During the same time period, 17 homes were built in Patterson. Most of the new homes were built by Kiper Homes in the Patterson Gardens development on the southwest side of town.
Still, city officials and real estate industry representatives alike say the housing market is approaching bustle mode these days, and even more growth is projected for the upcoming year.
Houses hard to find
Sonja Jarvis, lead agent for Kiper Homes in Patterson, said her company already has closed sales on 22 single-family houses since late 2011 and has another 16 in escrow in the Mahogany development in Patterson Gardens.
Only nine of the 47 lots have yet to sell.
“We have way more buyers than we have homes,” Jarvis said.
Most of the buyers are from the San Jose area and are searching for relatively cheaper housing in the Central Valley, she said. Some are investors.
Their interest in “cheap” housing has contributed to rising prices, with home values in the Mahogany development climbing from a range of $199,000 to $250,000 in late 2011 to $270,000 to $320,000 today, she said.
She described the dramatic spike in prices due to local market pressures as "scary."
While no one will debate that inventory is low — hovering at about 25 to 30 homes in the greater Patterson area — the tight market’s impact on Patterson’s population is unclear.
Patterson continues to maintain the highest vacancy rate in the county, with 11 percent of its 6,356 residences unoccupied as of Jan. 1, according to the state Department of Finance.
Many banks are holding foreclosed homes, waiting for values to rise before selling them, said Eric Bendix, a realtor in Patterson for ZipRealty and chairman of the Central Valley Association of Realtors West Side Council.
Investors also have contributed to the shortage in the city’s housing supply, he said, noting that it is not unusual for buyers to purchase multiple homes at once.
“I believe inventory is low everywhere,” he said.
Despite the lack of housing, Stockton-based Legacy Homes plans to build soon on about 50 lots in Patterson Gardens, while Modesto-based Bright Homes has considered finishing its Sutterpointe development on the east end of town, City Manager Rod Butler said.
But the city remains behind the average of about 842 new residents needed annually during a 55-year-period to reach the target population of about 66,673 described in the 2010 General Plan.
“We would rather see steady, moderate growth rather than a boom that overrides staff,” Butler said. “But it’s not always about our preference.”
Real estate roller coaster
Growth in Patterson has been anything but steady during the past several years.
At the height of Patterson’s growth spurt, the city’s population skyrocketed nearly 19 percent in a year, jumping from 16,187 to 19,269 from 2005 to 2006.
The real estate market crashed shortly afterward, with plummeting prices and a slew of foreclosures translating into a major slowdown growth.
The city’s population declined by 34 people between 2008 and 2009, dropping to 20,360 — and it gained only four people the following year, according to state Department of Finance estimates.
After that, things began to pick up, with 109 estimated new residents coming to Patterson between 2011 and 2012.
Moderate growth countywide
While most other cities in Stanislaus County have not experienced quite as much volatility as Patterson, all saw a modest amount of growth this past year.
Population estimates, as of Jan. 1, showed Hughson was the fastest-growing city in Stanislaus County in terms of percentage change, with a 2.8 percent population increase, boosting its population to 6,979 from 6,791.
Modesto’s population showed the greatest increase in sheer numbers with the addition of 3,135 more residents, climbing 1.5 percent from 2011 to 205,987 people last year.
Populations of other cities in Stanislaus County in 2012 all grew by less than 2 percent, with Turlock ending up at 69,988; Ceres, 46,320; Riverbank, 23,149; Oakdale, 21,234; Newman, 10,643; and Waterford, 8,598.
Stanislaus County’s total population reached 524,124, nearly a 1 percent increase from the Jan. 1, 2012, population of 519,339.
But the population in the county’s unincorporated areas diminished, dropping 0.6 percent to 110,480 from 111,098.
Statewide growth slight
Similar to Stanislaus County, California’s population growth remained relatively modest last year, rising by nearly 298,000 residents in 2012 to 37,966,000 — a 0.8 percent change, according to the report.
The San Francisco Bay Area was California’s fastest-growing region, with four of the five fastest-growing counties in the state.
Santa Clara County is the fastest-growing county in the state with a 1.6 percent increase, while Alameda, San Mateo and San Francisco counties all had growth rates of more than 1 percent.
The fastest-growing city in California was Santa Clarita in northern Los Angeles County, increasing by 15.4 percent to 204,951.
California’s largest city is Los Angeles — population 3,863,839 — followed by San Diego, 1,326,238; San Jose, 984,299; and San Francisco, 825,111.
The finance department arrives at population figures by using estimates of housing units and people per household. The state uses the estimates to allocate sales tax funds and other subventions.
•• Contact Jonathan Partridge at 892-6187, ext. 26, or email@example.com.