Thursday, August 17, 2017

Cal High Speed Rail Building Progress

There is a new site by the Cal High Speed Rail Authority which shows progress of the construction of the high speed rail. It is www.buildhsr.com It shows a list of all the projects https://www.buildhsr.com/projects/ Interactive Maps https://www.buildhsr.com/interactive_map/ with projects along Hwy 99 from Madera to Fresno. For instance here are some details with images of Road 27 Overpass OVERVIEW Construction is currently underway on an overcrossing that will carry traffic over future high-speed and existing BNSF rail lines outside the town of Madera, eliminating an existing at grade crossing. LOCATION On Road 27 between Club Drive and Avenue 17 near Madera Acres. CURRENTLY Concrete has been poured for the north abutment and crews are now preparing the falsework for a concrete pour of the abutment on the south side of the structure. Falsework is also being constructed to build the bent caps on top of the support columns. If your wondering what is going on and the progress you can see it for yourself and get timelines and pictures.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Hyperloop Progress....

Not long ago Elon Musk challenged the Cal High Speed Rail authority insinuation a better solution to a High Speed rail would be a Hyperloop. A Hyperloop works like a vacuum tube thrusting a pod at speeds greater than the speed of sound. There are at least three firms engineering a Hyperloop system in order to make this theory a reality. News reports indicate Hyperloop One completed a test in Las Vegas and propelled a pod 192 mph. This is about a third of the way to the final speed of 700 mph. Some say human can’t take that speed on the ground. It would do funny things to the stomach. We bring this up as the CalHighSpeedRail continues its construction and journey to provide human transport in California with a stop in Palmdale. It is possible that Hyperloop technology will only be used for freight. A technology that will seriously damage freight trains and long haul trucking. A job killer. A Hyperloop may not be a California or US solution as Russia and Middle Eastern Countries have interest in feasibility studies. Elon Musk who has said he would not develop the tech commercially recently tweeted that he had verbal government approval for the Boring Company to construct a Hyperloop system in the East Coast from New York to Washington. Washington never seemed to be in a hurry to go to work, so we will see how far this goes. Hundreds of mile underground? That maybe as much fantasy as a fully funded High Speed Rail in California. The jury is out on both.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Where do the Chinese want to go?

A recent study shows Chinese millionaires are more interested in Canada and the US, but less to Britain. The survey by a consulting group survey Chinese nationals with a net worth of 1.5 to $30 million. Although the US still remains the top destination, yet Canada is number two. Canada’s property prices and good education seem to be the big draw. The preferred cities are Los Angles 20% then Seattle, San Francisco, New York, all under 10% with Vancouver, and Toronto at 6 and 5% respectively.

A US Investment Visa which is becoming very popular with Chinese Nationals

US EB-5 (Employment based 5th preference) visa is drawing many Chinese immigrants. If one applies under the EB-5 program and invests $500k in the US they are entitled to a green card. The projection is that a $500k investment will bring US jobs. The program has enticed 10’s of thousands of applicants with 80% coming from the Chinese mainland. Currently there is an enormous backlog of applications. What we have found as the most popular investments are brand hotels, or senior centers. Other investments are apartments and office complexes. The job creation requirements for An EB-5 investor are that they must invest the required amount of capital in a newer commercial enterprise that will create full-time positions for at least 10 qualifying employees. A qualifying employee is a US citizen, lawful resident, or authorized immigrant. The minimum qualifying investment in the United States is $1 million, but a Targeted Employment Area (High Unemployment or Rural Area)minimum qualifying investment either within a high-unemployment area or rural area in the United States is $500,000. A lot of these investments go through authorized regional centers. Some of the names of these regional centers in California are Bay Area Regional Center, California wineries and vineyards, Green Energy Regional center, California Investment fund, Los Angeles Regional center and there are many others.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Housing Starts Indicating a Slowing Trend

For the third consecutive straight month with the May report it shows signs a future shortage of houses. A recent report from the Commerce Department indicated housing starts which had a 2.7 monthly decline in April and a 7.7 drop in March show a 5.5% drop in May. Although home construction is up 3.2% year to date. News reports indicate optimism in sales from home builders, yet the overall number of homes for sale has shown a steady decline over the last two years. Another major real estate indicator is building permits. That number has drop precipitously 5% to just over 1 million nationwide. We don’t have the local numbers in Los Angeles County, but found that the Wells Fargo builder sentiment index is 67. This is a positive number as any reading above 50 is a positive number and that number has been well above 50 for the last nine months.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Building a Custom Home

A lot of property in Lancaster and Palmdale is advertised as build your dream home. It is easier said than done. First you need to budget for it. A custom home can cost from 150k to $450k with the average being $300k. But first you must buy the land, and the land location is tantamount. Many buyers buy land without power, water, or city services. Once you get the permits to build on such a property then you will need propane tanks for power, drill a well for water and use septic for sewage. All doable tasks. But getting the water 1500 feet below the surface is the first real trick. This is typical in Lancaster and LA County. A popular option is a modular home or prefabricated home. They almost look like a normal home, but you will have to disclose that the house is a modular home, and the selling price may be lower to reflect that. If you choose to build it yourself then you may need estimates for the cost to do so in your area. Plans and designs must be submitted to the city or county and then permits and inspections follow once initially approved. A builder will likely have several inspections along the way. Then you need a construction loan, or a construct to perm loan. A construct to perm loan can involve the land purchase as well. There are numerous factors that affect the cost such as square footage, number of stories, roof type, finishing’s, and issues like if power, water and sewage are available. The propane tank is reasonable if you go the lease option. It may cost only a few hundred to install, and the cost of a simple slab. A septic tank can run $1500 to $4000. A well estimate is $5k to $40k, but on average $25 a foot. The average in Lancaster and Palmdale area is $20-$25k for a well . In the end it may takes years to complete.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

San Bernardino County Apple Valley and Adelanto are promoting Industrial Uses which Spurs Growth

Apple Valley Industrial Growth Low land costs in business friendly city has created fertile ground for industrial developers. Part of this growth is the logistics airport that brings in commerce. Walmart is developing a 370k square foot structure near the SCLA airport and it is partly leased already Adelanto lenient to marijuana Adelanto’s population is around 33,000. It is 50 percent Latino and 30 percent African-American, and roughly 40 percent of the population lives below the poverty line The city late last year officially expanded its medical marijuana cultivation and manufacturing zone, while the mayor opposed it. Since measure R passed the zone where medical cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, transportation and testing can occur was increased by 160 acres to zones marked “light industrial.” They did this by approving the second reading of an ordinance passed earlier. The Council has increased the overall zone to up to 500 acres. This new extension is near the Air Expressway and Yucca Rd. The voter approved 5 percent excise tax, Measure R, to commercial recreational activities as well, in wake of the passage of California’s Proposition 64, which legalized recreational pot. The mayor is very opposed to it. He is quoted in the Victor Valley Press “I can assure you right now that every vote that comes out of my mouth on recreational, to grow in our city (commercially), will be a nay answer,” Kerr said.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Here are a few City of Palmdale Projects Under Review for Approval

Tentative Tract Map (TTM) 62333 Time Extension (TE) No. 1; is a request for a three-year time extension to develop approximately 7 acres into 22 single-family residential lots and one detention basin lot between Avenue R and Avenue R-4, Tentative Parcel Map (TPM) 74425 and Conditional Use Permit (CUP) 16-010; applications by HRES Palmdale, LLC, to subdivide 9.1 acres into two commercial lots and to construct a convenience store with an accessory car wash and fuel canopy consisting of two buildings to be located at the northwest corner of Palmdale Boulevard and 40th Street East. Tentative Tract Map (TTM) 60732 Time Extension (TE) No. 2; an application by The Epic Companies, requesting a second and final three-year discretionary time extension to subdivide 9.8 acres into 28 single-family residential lots located east of 20th Street West and 660 feet south of Avenue P-8. The development of a 56-duplex condominium project has been proposed for APN 3009-001-900. The 9.9 acre project area is located at the southeast corner of Taintor Road and Division Street in the City of Palmdale. General Plan Amendment (GPA) 15-002, Zone Change (ZC) 15-002, Tentative Tract Map (TTM) 73740, and Site Plan review (SPR) 15-007 are applications for the following items: a) General Plan Amendment 15-002 a request to amend the General Plan Land Use designation on 9.9 acres from SFR-3 (Single Family Residential, 3.1-6 dwelling units per acre) to MR (Medium Residential, 6.1-10 dwelling units per acre); b) Zone Change 15-002 a request to change the Zoning designation on 9.9 acres from R-1-7,000 (Single Family Residential, 7,000 square foot minimum lot size) to R-2 (Medium Residential); c) Tentative Tract Map 73740 a request for a one lot 56 duplex condominium unit subdivision on 9.9 acres; d) Site Plan Review (SPR) 15- 007 a request for multiple family residential use; and e) Density Bonus Agreement The last one above is a zoning change request form R-7000 zoning into Medium Residential Zoning. Building is taking place in Palmdale. You just have to know where to look.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Kinkisharyo’s Plant is Showing Growth

Kinkisharyo's is a light rail car assembly facility at Plant 42. It recently celebrated in its production of its 78th rail car for the Los Angeles Metro Authority. This completes their first contract with LA Metro and moves them onto a new beginning. All the manufacturing is done at the Plant 42 plant in Palmdale with about four hundred workers. It is part of an almost billion dollar contract to deliver over 200 rail cars. The recent completion triggers a new phase and new agreement with LA Metro to produce more cars, and to expand the plant. If you recall several years ago there was a big legal disagreement. The unions accused Kinkisharyo of violating environmental acts. This forced the company to consider a move to Phoenix Arizona where other manufacturing is done. The disagreement would have killed jobs in Palmdale, which the city desperately needed. The company felt the union move was ruse by the union to force the company to use its workers. The company decided to drop their factory expansion, but they later won an agreement to use an existing building once operated to make the B-1B bomber. A swords to plowshares change. Additionally the company agreed to not fight unionization. The Palmdale workers are now represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical workers. This success provides security and jobs in the valley, and it is not just as airplane bomber producing area, but an environmentally conscious area as it is combined with the BYD electric bus manufacturing in Lancaster. This keeps workers in the area, which busts the local economy and areas growth.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

California Marijuana Law may save Insolvent Cities. Lancaster Approves Marijuana Cultivation in City Limits

The city of Lancaster has given the final approval March 2017 in allowing commercial cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes, but it banned commercial growing or selling it for recreational use. They approved five as the limit on businesses allowed to grow within the city limits. This will be allowed on Lancaster industrial zoned land according to reports. Places like Desert Hot Springs in the Coachella Valley has been inundated by marijuana growers and developers. Buyers are buying land without utilities or even roads. Some brokers are getting calls from all over the world. The Mayor is all for it. He wants parks, roads, sidewalks and he is looking for the tax revenue to do it. The medium household income is under $35k, and the city declared a financial emergency a few years ago. They have since pushed for dispensaries and cultivation. It seems the city planner will be open to new farmers. Growers in California will be able to apply for state licenses by 2018. The catch is these growers will need to get a local license before the state offers the permit. Will this frenzy also be a growth opportunity to farm land in Antelope Valley? The valley has a long history of farming, so it would be a likely target area and it is closer to customers in Los Angeles than Desert Springs. The city of Lancaster says no currently to recreational use farming, but not sure what LA County approves. There are other issues as some utility firms indicate that the power needs may not be enough in some rural areas, and water is a big issue in southern California. Some of these issues may require an infrastructure study. Perhaps larger operations could use brown water as the water source. There has been a push to use the expansive Antelope Valley as a brown water aquifer. Let nature clean the water and maybe water the buds along the way. Other cities like Cathedral City, and Adelanto have recently accepted applications for growers. The competition for land and permits may spur growth, but first you have to get that permit and then talk to land sellers. Adelanto was also almost insolvent. This seems to be the push for some California cities in desperate need for revenue then they will be lenient with permits. The penalties for cultivating marijuana or operating a grow house illegally (a property used primarily for the cultivation of marijuana) can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Usually the penalties can include heavy fines and incarceration in prison for up to 3 years.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Low Priced Lancaster, Ca. Property for Sale

We have been posting news about Lancaster and Palmdale developments since 2007. Not only do we try to inform our readers about developments in the Antelope Valley we also promote some property with investors we work with. Here are a couple of properties we are happy to submit for prospective investors. These parcels are priced at the low end of the market at recently sold price ranges. This property is located at 40th Street East at H-8. It is zoned RR-1 allowing 2 homes on this 2.5 acre parcel. Asking $50,000 which is commensurate with recent sales. Contact sales@vacantlanddeals.com for more information. Images are available The second property is located at 43rd street East at Ave H. It is just under 2 acres fronting on H which is paved with power. The city limits of Lancaster ends at 40th street. There is also a home across the road. Ideal parcel to buy and hold. They are asking only $15,000 which again is similar to recent sales in this area. Contact sales@vacantlanddeals.com for more details. Property images are available If you know someone who is interested in promoting on our blog please let us know.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

High Speed Rail Private Property Purchase Right of Way Process

The Cal High Speed Rail has a process regarding how they will buy private property for the planned rail line. Once they target property within their proposed path or alternate path then they begin a property evaluation process. They will put together a design and survey to start the process to prepare a boundary survey with a legal description and appraisal maps. Once this is done they will begin the appraisal, but only after the approval of the approved and alternate routes. Then they will meet with the private property owner and do an appraisal inspection. A surveyor may stake the area and the evaluation may include mitigation to re-establish remainder. Once this is complete they will do an appraisal review with a final approval process. Then an acquisition process begins but after the Notice of Determination (NOD) and (ROD) Record of decision is made. The negotiation initiation is made with the property owner. They may consider new information at this time, and then the final approval process will start. If there is an established farm, home, or business in the path then a relocation process may commence with a 90 day notice. The farm, home or business may get moving expenses paid, or other benefits. If a business can show a loss of business goodwill then that business can file a claim, but they will have to show a burden of proof. This may include tax returns, or other evidence showing income loss due to relocation if applicable. This is all part of their right of way process. If you believe your business or private property is within the path then you should maintain your records of business if you wish to make a claim for a higher value, or a business loss.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Money Is Leaving China

News reports indicated China has tightened capital controls, but it doesn’t seem to be working. Their foreign exchange reserves unexpectedly fell below $3 trillion. There has been a steady drop as it fell by $12.3 billion in January to $2.998 trillion, compared with a drop of $41 billion drop in December. China had lost over $300 billion in 2016, and over $500 billion in 2015. News reports indicate Beijing is concerned at the speed of the outflow. This outflow hurts its ability to defend its own currency. It is possible if the outflow continues then the government will devalue their own currency. The US dollar has been rising and the yuan has dropped by almost 7% since last year. At the same time their gold reserves have increased. What does this mean for the Antelope Valley? Well many Chinese investors are investing in California. There has been a huge influx of Chinese purchases of real estate in San Francisco, Los Angeles and the Antelope Valley. Land is still cheap and it takes no effort to maintain dirt. There has also been interest in farm land to grow traditional agricultural products, as well as, marijuana. Stay tuned. China has lots and lots of money, and California seems to be a nice resting place for their investments.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Many of China’s Elderly are looking to Retire and Invest Abroad

China is facing a looming demographic crisis due to its rapidly aging society according to a UN Study. There soon will be an estimated 360 million Chinese over the age of 60 in 2030. That is 25% of the population, which is also larger than the entire US population. China may not have the resources to care for a large retired population. Their economy has slowed, and affluent Chinese are increasingly investing in retirement properties overseas both for their parents and their own golden years. They have benefited from a property boom at home and they would like to retire somewhere safe, environmentally clean, safe and comfortable. The yuan’s value has decline against the dollar, so they have been pouring money into foreign investment in Europe and the US. Overall Chinese investment in foreign commercial and residential real estate jumped from $5.6 billion in 2012 to $34.4 billion last year, according to recent studies. A recent survey also indicated Chinese who had either emigrated or were considering emigrating, of those 60% said they would buy an overseas property in the next three years, with the US, UK, Canada and Australia as the top destinations. More than half indicated they were concerned about the continuing depreciation of the yuan. Outbound tourism has shot up 200% in 2015 from 2014. Retirees expect to live full lives in their golden years and the west appears to be their desire destination. Chinese also like living with people of their own culture just like others. California has one of the largest Chinese populations in the US. Many also look to vacant land as an investment vehicle, since there is no maintenance on land parcels. They can sell the property later for a profit and then buy a home in California. The investment becomes a safe haven from the yuan and home government. Also what make Antelope Valley a good prospect is the new medical facilities. Retirees like access to safe state of the art medical care. The desert valley may fit the bill. Also China has dense cities with crowded apartments. Antelope Valley and many parts of California are the opposite of that. Additionally, a foreign investment benefits their children and grandchildren. In China property ownership is a leasehold and not fee simple like the US. A leasehold maybe only 70 years in China, so you can’t will the estate to your children which is so common in the US. There are still cultural barriers to Chinese foreign investment, but some of the positives may outweigh the negatives. An investment can be turned into cash when appropriate.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A New Proposed California State law Compels cities: Build more, or we’ll do it for you

Every California city is required to build a certain amount of housing to meet the state goals, and many cities are ignoring it. The new law proposed in Sacramento would force cities to comply, or the state will push the projects forward. It is SB 35 and if passed then each city may be forced to fast track building projects. This takes control from the local level to the state. Most cities don’t like such bullying. It has not been written fully just yet, but it has been proposed by new state senator Scott Wiener. Other similar proposals sank in the senate. Initially the proposed law will allow control locally, but it may be more how a city will comply and not whether they comply. A San Francisco housing initiative pushed for 3,600 new homes every year through 2020. Other San Francisco Bay Area districts will create 160k new homes in the same period. We don’t have the figures for Los Angeles County, but the push from Sacramento is build, build, build regardless of location.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Getting Water from Air. An Antelope Valley Water Solution

A company has come up with a solution to the lack of water in the Valley. No well needed. The following is under development by VIVI-Labas and UC Berkeley. The following is from their website. The Water Seer device is planted six or more feet into the ground, and soil is then packed around its metal neck. The top of the Water Seer holds a vertical wind turbine, which spins internal fan blades to draw air into the subterranean chamber. Because the underground chamber portion of the Water Seer is cooled by the surrounding earth, water condenses in the reservoir to create a sort of an artificial well, from which people can draw clean, safe drinking water around the clock. It can draw up to 825 gallons of water from the air daily. The cost is projected to be under $200.The low-cost device was developed by VICI-Labs, in partnership with UC Berkeley and the National Peace Corps Association, as a possible solution for the 2.3 million people on the planet who lack regular access to safe drinking water. A single Water Seer device can collect up to 11 gallons of clean water every day with no external power supply required, and a collection of several devices can provide enough water to support a small village. The not-for-profit company will match US purchases of each unit by donating a Water Seer collection device to those in need living in developing countries or in arid climates. Water Seer launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $77,000 to build “orchards” of water collection devices around the world. The device has already been tested as a prototype, and the latest model was finalized in August 2016 and will undergo field tests with the National Peace Corps Association once the crowdfunding campaign closes.