Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Antelope Valley High Desert Oasis Launches Space Tourism at Mojave Air and Space Port

Antelope Valley is adding more high tech to its Solar and Wind technology, and Stealth Bomber Testing. Virgin Galactic unveils Enterprise-SpaceShipTwo as its first of five potential suborbital planes. SpaceShipTwo measures 60 feet long and it is intended to carry two pilots and six passengers, who will pay for a 2 1/2 hour flight into suborbital space, to experience weightlessness and see the curvature of the Earth.

The unveiling is a first look at space tourism and was attended by some of the 300 or so potential passengers who have already put down a deposit of $20,000 toward the $200,000 outlay. It took place in California's Mojave Desert at the Mojave Air and Space Port in the center of Mojave, Ca. between Hwy 14 and Hwy 58 and just north of Edward Airforce Base. It is a test site for new aircraft technology, and near an array of mothballed aircraft seen on the horizon. The audience included Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Princess Beatrice, and Sir Richard Branson "This will be the start of commercial space travel."You become the astronaut." Branson said.

SpaceShipTwo uses all the same basic technology, carbon composite construction and design as the first version SpaceShipOne, but it is around twice as large as that vehicle. Each passenger gets the same seating position with two large windows, one side window and one overhead, so that, if you don't want to float free in space, and you'd rather just remain in your seat, you still get a great chance to see the view.

According to Virgin Galactics website the mothership WhiteKnightTwo-Eve and SpaceShipTwo were designed by Burt Rutan, since SpaceShipTwo is larger then the mothership which was also enlarged with two fuselages with a long undercarriage. Both of WhiteKnightTwo's fuselages have a dihedral wing and the spaceship will be placed centrally between them, where the wing tips are joined at the highest point of the elongated 'W-shape' wing. With its fuselages some 50ft apart, WhiteKnightTwo's payload area is large and readily accessible from the ground.

News sources indicate that flight testing is expected to begin early next year. First flights will be captive carry flights with SpaceShipTwo staying attached to WhiteKnightTwo. After that the flight test team will begin glide flights in SpaceShipTwo and eventually powered flights with the rocket motor. Once flight testing is complete and the government regulations have been met, Virgin Galactic plans to regularly fly passengers into space from the company’s New Mexico space port. The $450 million project will eventually see six commercial vessels shuttling into space. The Enterprise-SpaceShipTwo will be carried to an altitude of 11 miles by a twin-hulled Mothership called WhiteKnightTwo-Eve, named after Sir Richard's mother. It will then release and fire its own hybrid rocket to propel it into space, accelerating to 2,500mph and soaring to 65 miles above the Earth. After hitting the top of its trajectory, the 22-yard-long ship will fall back to Earth, gliding the last part of the way before landing much like a plane.
Sir Richard indicated that by 2020 he hoped there would be as many as five competing spaceship companies and the price of a ticket could be driven down enough for hundreds of thousands of passengers to go into space. Experts say that by traveling into near-Earth orbit, the length of inter-continental flights could be cut dramatically, so a flight from London to Sydney could last just two hours. It is exciting high technology news for this high desert oasis.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Edison Proposes Solar Power Plant outside of Lake Los Angeles

The Antelope Valley Press has reported that Southern California Edison under its power generation division Edison Mission Energy is planning a150 megawatt photovoltaic plant in Antelope Valley, Ca. Edison Mission Energy has solar power operations in Mojave Ca. in Kern County presently. They are looking to expand south into the eastern edge of Los Angeles County at the San Bernardino County line. The proposed site is currently on presently or previously farmed agricultural land near 240th street East at Ave S.

Edison Mission Energy looks like they have targeted previously disturbed land, which should enable them to leap major environmental issues. The request for development has already begun earlier this summer, and they hope for final approval by late 2010. This project also uses photovoltaic technology which doesn’t require water, and the solar panels will only rise a few feet above the ground. It is a strategy that other solar power companies have used that can fast track the process, and limits the environmental impact.

The Wind Farms of Tehachapi and Solar Plants of Mojave, and Lancaster have become a green zone in the new energy economy. These areas were primarily vacant pre-developed land and have increased in value with the housing boom earlier this decade and now a green energy renaissance has begun. Just a decade ago you could buy raw land in these areas for as low as $500 to $1000 an acre, and now even in this current down real estate market the prices have increased a minimum of one hundred percent. Most of this land has been undesirable land for building or development with the rolling hills of Tehachapi and arid desert land in Lancaster far from current development, but now these Alternative Energy Companies and Edison have taken root. These companies are taking advantage of low priced land and looking toward the future. With the potential population growth and the alternative energy development the Antelope Valley’s future is taking shape. We have invested in pre-developed land in these areas and we have taken advantage of the news and development of the area these past five years. We also encourage our investors to take a closer view at similar prudent opportunities.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gold and California Vacant Land as an Investment Hedge against Inflation

Gold and precious metals have been and still are the best hedge against inflation. But you have to look at precious metals as a paper asset versus silver coins and gold bars. Initially, what is a hedge against inflation? An inflation hedge is an asset that loses little value in periods of rising prices. It therefore holds its value and purchasing power during an inflationary period. Investors expecting inflation will typically buy this asset type to hedge against rising prices. Precious metals will actually increase in value since they are such an ideal inflation hedge.
The best way to address this question is to look at real assets versus financial assets. Real assets have intrinsic value, which is value of their own. They have direct or indirect usefulness like cars, wheat, corn, gold, real estate, land, and even appliances etc. Financial assets are a claim of profit of a firm, family or government. They would be stocks, bonds, mortgages, trust funds and the likes. Generally, real assets like gold, vacant land, and other commodities are a better hedge against inflation. These real assets have a value of their own, and are not devalued when everything else is inflating in price. Ideal hedges should hold their value over time and not lose their value. Produce and cars lose value over time, while precious metals (gold, silver, palladium), and vacant land and even wine will hold its value.
Another key element of an inflation hedge is its marketability. Is there a market for the commodity at virtually any given time? There is a market for soybeans, heating oil, gold and land, but things like shoes, furniture, and stocks have a limited market, and re-sale market. Another feature of a good hedge is its divisibility. Essentially can the asset be broken down into smaller portions? A house, car and land can not be broken down, but gold, gas, and agricultural products can be.
The best hedge against inflation has been and will continue to be gold, but we are referring to the hard asset of coins, bars, and even a mine that you own. Holding gold in stocks, ETF’s, or shares in a gold or silver mine is a financial asset and not a good hedge. Real Estate like a rental house, apartment, or vacant land is a good hedge but not the best, since it is not as marketable and not divisible like gold and other commodities.
The problem is the availability of gold coins and bars and nobody but a farmer will hold perishable commodities like wheat, or corn in their back yard. We think vacant land is a good alternative as an inflation hedge for investors since it is inexpensive, available and it will hold its value until inflation ebbs. It also doesn’t need to be maintained, will not deteriorate, and it can’t be rustled or stolen.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The General Eminent Domain process by a Government Agency on your Property

Typically, when the government wishes to take your property by eminent domain, you can expect them to engage in the following steps in about the following order. This is a straight forward process, but untypical cases do occur. The government may also be forced to pay moving or lease expenses as part of the process, but certainly not required in vacant land eminent domain. There has been and will be a number of eminent domain actions by Los Angeles County in Antelope Valley in the recent past and many proposals for the future.

The government agency will contact you usually by mail to express interest in your property and scheduling an appraisal or environmental assessment of the property.
They will then appraise the property, and any improvements. The appraiser will be by their approval though. You can engage your own appraiser at the government expense also. Once appraised the government agency will make an offer to purchase the property. They will include a summary of the appraisal which they use to make their offer. A subsequent notice of public hearing to adopt "resolution of necessity" to acquire your property by eminent domain will begin. A Public hearing is announced and held to adopt the "resolution of necessity" to acquire your property by eminent domain. The Eminent domain case is filed in the court with jurisdiction and a notice is served to you the property owner. A deposit by agency of the probable amount of just compensation is paid into court and motion by agency for early possession of the property. This would be the appraiser’s figure, which they likely offered you before they took you to court. Then discovery procedure proceeds where any depositions and documents are gathered. This is where you the property owner provide your appraiser documentation. At this point both sides are attempting to get the fair market value. The government attempts to get an agreed settlement on the fair market value before going to trial. You should have a good case for more money before the last step which is the trial date. If settlement cannot be reached, then a trial of the eminent domain takes place before a jury who will determine for both parties the expected fair market value. The jury returns verdict and judgment is disclosed. The government agency then will compensate the property owner the jury’s judgment of the fair market value.

In most cases a settlement is agreed to and completed before a trial. Eminent domain can be desirable and undesirable for the property owner. If you look at real estate as a commodity then getting fair market value for the benefit of public use is a very good exchange. But if you are losing a home that has been a anchor for your family, or a business which you grew from the ground up then eminent domain can be a bitter pill, and anything but fair.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

City Of Lancaster to Annex 7000 Acres of Los Angeles County Land

Currently L A County owned land is the target area for the City of Lancaster. The seven thousand acres of land is situated north of the city limits of Lancaster. The new area would border from West to East Hwy 14 to 20th Street East and from South to North from Avenues G and H to Avenue E. Mayor Rex Parris indicated that the land within the current city limits are becoming more developed, so now is the opportunity to continue the city’s growth by incorporating new land into the city.

According to city staff at the city council meeting this past summer the annexation is a twofold benefit. Firstly, it will allow the city to better manage their Waste Management. Currently the landfill lies outside the city limits so this will enable the city to better manage their waste resources. The area will also allow space for current and future solar energy plants. This unincorporated area is mainly flat topography which creates uncontained rain water to be wasted. The proposal enables the city to improve drainage, prevent flooding, and collect the water for recyclable usage. It in turn creates solar energy production interests to work together within the city limits and offer solar and alternative energy solutions for Lancaster.

E-solar could be a main benefactor of the plan, since they require water resources to be heated by their panels, which then produces the electric power. It is a green win win solution since the city will be able to trap the currently uncontained water and provide alternative energy for residents. The city of Lancaster is currently planning a similar project called the Recycle Recharge Project at 60th Street at F in cooperation with E-Solar.
This project will recycle rainwater throughout the city and provide recycled water for E-Solar and residents while the remainder will be recharged through natural aquifers in the area.

The annexation process will need to get environmental impact approval, and then if the city council approves the project then the proposal goes to the County’s Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). LAFCO will evaluate the proposal, review it with residents and decide if it is within the best interest of the area concerned. This process may take six to nine month’s.

The annexation is a major boost for land investors, since you can buy land now at lower prices and benefit with new zoning changes from county agriculture land to industrial and commercial zoning and development of the area. The opportunity provides inside information to get involved in a lower risk speculative land investment. We are taking advantage of the opportunity this annexation projects, and we urge savvy investors to do likewise.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Green Acres is Centennial Developments High Desert Plan

Centennial Development is a planned self sustained new development on Tejon Ranch, which is situated at 300th West at Hwy 138 Ave D in western Antelope Valley. Tejon Ranch will preserve 240,000 acres of their ranch in an agreement with environmental groups this past May. In exchange these environmentalists will not stand in the way of Centennials planned development of up to 20,000 homes in the designated area.

The development is planned with a green theme. Centennials news release indicates there will be 8600 acres set aside just for open space, and their compact village centers will accommodate mix use development of commercial, single family residential, apartments with a green homogeneous environment. Residents will be within a half mile of neighborhood parks, and town centers. They will be designed to accommodate bicycles and cars, with a transit system to enable access to LA County mass transit. It is sort of the anti LA. Los Angeles County present design since 1950 has been no design and no mass transit at all. If you don’t have a car you simply can’t live. The result is traffic congestion smog, and very few parks.

Centennial anticipates better energy conservation in their homes with lower water consumption and watershed management. The homes and buildings will be designed with better lighting features for efficient energy consumption. They plan to use recycled water for landscaping and designated recycling areas for residential and commercial disposable materials. This will also reduce home and building monthly expenses. It will be built over 20 years to take advantage of new technologies over time. The overall plan includes its own police and fire departments, schools, markets, with a specific plan for the essentially green gated community.

This is a far better and different plan then current developer’s who buy the land, create a tentative tract map, build and sell the homes and move onto the next target. This new green designed Centennial community could be an example for the future developers as a conscientious plan and a self sustained environment with less impact on the current and future terrain. It should also highlight and increase the value of property in the surrounding area on Antelope Valley’s far west side.

We have and can locate vacant land opportunities in Lancaster and Palmdale California in the pre-development phases as a low cost investment. Investors can take advantage now and buy land and wait to receive increased property value in the post-development phase.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Buy Land and Sell Half of it Immediately for Your Purchase Price, that’s the California Way

The Los Angeles Times recently reported that a renewable energy venture firm won a bid to purchase a potential wind farm site near Bakersfield, California in Kern County. The land site known as Onyx Ranch is in the Tehachapi Mountains and is a prime location for a Wind Farm. The winning bidder was by Renewable Resources Group who outbid the Los Angeles County Department of Water and Power with a bid of $48 million. They then offered to sell it to the DWP for $65 million to use half of the property, but the DWP decline the offer.

The venture partner group then located another suitor in the City of Vernon which has its own electric utility and is also in Los Angeles County. They purchased about half the property for $42 million. Now the DWP is looking to purchase the land from the city of Vernon, or take them to court. The Mayor of Los Angeles Villaraigosa has pledged to make Los Angeles “the greenest big city in America.”, but he will need places like Onyx Ranch and Antelope Valley to shoulder the Counties Wind and Solar needs.

There seems to be “an inside job” surrounding this deal, since the founder of Renewable Resources Group J. Ari Swiller was Mayor Villaraigosa’s campaign manager and the Deputy Mayor David Freeman helped found Renewable Resources. The Los Angeles Times reports that Mr. Swiller indicated that he didn’t know that the DWP was interested in the property. Looks like if the DWP really wants the property then they will have to pay more now then they offered before, and apply eminent domain on the 30,000 acres to prevent other from developing the site. The end result is a higher cost to the consumer.

Renewable Resource Group is a shrewd investor who bought land that is essentially unusable until the State imposed the mandate last November for 33% of all energy to be from renewable resources. It also shows there are still opportunities in land investment in a slow real estate market. The right type of land that aligns with future specific plans can land an investor in the green.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Rural Land as an Alternative Investment in the New Green Energy Economy

There has been a number of development proposals for the vacant land near the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve. In 2005 there was a proposal from Scottish Power to develop Wind Energy, but the neighborhood disliked the idea of large Wind Towers on the horizon. That enterprise appears to be long dead. In addition, there has been a proposal working its way through LA County Planning Commission for a NASCAR Style Race Track at 150th Street West and Ave D. The neighbors have been fighting that proposal as well due to noise and other issues, but it has been the hottest ticket on the west side until now.

A new plan is shedding light on the poppy reserve. Nextlight Renewable Power of San Francisco is planning a solar sight called AV Solar Ranch One. This proposed development is targeted for 170th West at Ave D. The company uses photovoltaic panels which turn sunlight into electricity. They operate on a track so the panels move with the sun, and the energy produced will connect to Southern California Edison. This consigns with California law which mandates up to 33% of the States Energy to be from alternative sources. Edison is already expanding their power-lines that run through the region, and the proposal appears to be on track with residents as the Antelope Acres Town Council unanimously approved the plan. Nextlight’s news release targets the environment impact studies to be approved by April of next year. They hope for construction to begin by October of 2010 and energy production by 2011. This project will certainly change the landscape of the area, which has been primarily vacant unused land. It shouldn’t affect the poppy reserve though, since the site is north of Fairmount Butte. Also, it is not part of the counties ecological reserve where Joshua Trees and other plant and animal life is protected.

At least two solar energy companies are now taking advantage of the suns consistent output in the Antelope Valley, and the availability of low priced land.We have been telling our clients and prospective investors that they need to buy land near a large metropolitan area in the path of growth,Northern Los Angeles County certainly fits that model. The proposed solar development and the continued focus of the State and Federal governments to support alternative energy sources will create a new economy. Historically, new economies have taken us out of recessions, like the recent Dotcom and Real Estate booms which both eventually went bust. The new “Green Energy Economy” looks like it will be the next boom but with lasting implications. It will change the way we use energy and resources, and the Obama Administration is intent on its implementation with Cap and Trade regulation. The green boom ground zero is in the Antelope Valley, so stay tuned for future developments.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Land Zoning Targets for Solar Companies in Los Angeles County

There are at least two solar companies (Nextlight and E-Solar) planning operations of large solar plants in Antelope Valley in Northern Los Angeles County. NextLight is planning a large project at 170th West at Ave D (AV Solar Ranch One).
Most of the area outside of the city limits of Lancaster and Palmdale is zoned rural residential and agricultural land. This allows a single family residence within a parcel of 2 acres or more. It also allows for agricultural uses such as livestock, and crop farming. Agricultural zoning is further broken down into A1 and A2. A1 allows for light agricultural and A2 is heavy agriculture. Heavy agriculture zoning requires at least 5 acres minimum.
So how are these Solar Enterprises rapidly and economically getting around constructing an energy facility on rural agricultural land? Typically there would be an environment impact report needed with permits, community forums and the list goes on. These solar companies have targeted previously disturbed land, or land that has been farmed. Farmers have already tilled the land for years, so any endangered wildlife have found new homes and the land has been partially developed. In Nextlights case they use photovoltaic technology, so they use very little water, and the panels are only a few feet above the ground. In E-Solar’s case they use mirrors to reflect the suns raze on a water tower. E-Solar is attempting to solve their water needs by working an agreement with the City of Lancaster to use recycled water.
Both companies have solved a portion of their environment impact by buying A2 zoned land on the western portion of the valley. There are also two solar projects currently in the city of Lancaster at Division and G and an upcoming one at Sierra Hwy and avenue M.
This scenario is a great example of what we have been saying about landbanking. Rural residential land owned by farmers or investors overtime turns into needed space for a growing metropolis. Landbanking is a long term and sometimes short term investment for wealth. Land if purchased near growth and at a reasonable price can be a low risk investment as a retirement vehicle and diversified investment.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Centennial Development Forms Agreement with Local School District

Centennial Founders have formed an agreement with the Gorman School District.
Centennial development is planning a self reliant community on the far-west side of Antelope Valley neat 300th street West, and just a few miles east of the community of Gorman. The development is proposed to include up to 20,000 homes, a business district, medical facilities, as well as, cultural recreation services and schools. The agreement with the Gorman School District goes a long way to create this oasis in the valley. Centennial Development will be situated about thirty miles west of Lancaster, Ca. and just east of Hwy 5 with easy access to Burbank and Los Angeles and Bakersfield in Kern County. It is a privately funded self supported community with a specific plan for growth, and housing. Their master plan will include single family homes, condominiums, town homes and thousands of rental properties.

The agreement with the school district, according to their recent press release will include $233 million in investment to complete the educational facilities for Kindergarten through 8th grade. This master plan for the initial school is set to be completed by 2013. Centennial already has an agreement with Antelope Valley Union High School District to provide two high schools with an estimate cost of $254 million.

This private development appears to be on track, and it will positively transform the area near Gorman. This area is primarily vacant unused land or farmland situated at the border with Kern County, and overlooking the San Gabriel Mountains. There is access via Hwy 138 which runs from Hwy 5 east to Lancaster and Palmdale. Los Angeles County’s future growth will be in Antelope Valley, as this remains the most abundant available undeveloped land in the county. The plan by Centennial has already been approved by the county and by an earlier agreement with environmentalist. We will keep you informed with this development and other positive developments for Antelope Valley’s growth.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

City of Lancaster and Solar Company in joint agreement to develop Recycle Recharge Station in Fox Field Industrial Corridor

The Antelope Valley Press recently reported an agreement with the City Council of Lancaster and E-Solar, a producer of modular solar thermal power plants. The plan is to develop a means to recycle city water, which E-Solar uses for cooling their solar towers. E-Solar has plans to develop a prototype plant in the city of Lancaster, and a larger one on county land on the far west side near Neenach. Press reports indicate that under the terms of the agreement E-Solar will support some major expenses on behalf of the city.
The company will forward $500k to the design and environmental impact documents for the Lancaster Recycled Water Recharge Pilot Project, at 60th Street West and Avenue F. They will also contribute up to $1.5 million for construction of a pump and for extending the existing pipelines. This pipeline will provide recycled water service for the city. Los Angeles County owns one hundred acres in Fox Field at 60th West at Ave F to F-4 which is the target area for development. The recycled water will be treated to a high degree of cleansing called tertiary treatment which will then be used to recharge the aquifer beneath the Antelope Valley for nature’s further purification. E-Solar will be instrumental in design and construction of the transmission pipelines and a pumping station which will then be dedicated to the city once completed.
The agreement has been initially approved by the city council and Mayor Parris. The Mayor indicated agreements and permits have been achieved to initiate the process.
E-Solar has a pilot solar power plant in Lancaster at Avenue G and Division Street and it is expected to go online this year. In addition, they are proposing to build a larger plant in Antelope Valley that will rival the energy output of Hoover Dam.
Solar companies have selected Antelope Valley recently due to a willing City like Lancaster, and available low priced land that has been primarily vacant near the metropolis of Los Angeles County. The solar growth is in line with the State of California's mandate to produce 33% of power from non-fossil fuel sources.
Vacantlanddeals owns a property for sale which may be part of or at minimum next to this proposed water recycling and irrigation area. Our parcel is 5 acres at 62nd West at Ave F-4, just south of the 100 acres owned by Los Angeles County. This property is for sale at the lowest price range of Fox Field, and it is clearly in the path of near term development. Contact us for more details on this industrial zone parcel, or other properties we have.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Solar LA

There have been various news reports and press releases regarding an expansion of Solar Energy production in the Southwest and primarily in Los Angeles County. The Mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa in his recent State of LA speech called
The “Solar L.A.” plan “a commitment to Angelenos that the Department of Water and Power will install over 1200 megawatts of solar power over the next five years, ensuring that we become a solar powerhouse.”

Simultaneously, Reuters reported that the U.S. Interior Department this past Monday designated about 670,000 acres of land as potential areas for solar energy production.
"This environmentally sensitive plan will identify appropriate Interior-managed lands that have excellent solar energy potential and limited conflicts with wildlife, other natural resources or land users," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said.

The land is divided into 24 solar energy zones spread across six western states and could generate nearly 100,000 megawatts of solar electricity. The department will evaluate the possible environmental impacts of solar production in these areas as well as their energy resources. This energy zone will encompass the States of Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, California and New Mexico.

Pasadena Based E-solar announced earlier this week that they have a Solar Project which is projected to produce 192 gigawatt hours of electricity yearly in an agreement with PG&E and NRG Energy's subsidiary AlpineSunTower. Their project will be near Lancaster, California and it is projected to handle the consumption of thirty thousand homes. The plant is scheduled for completion in 2012 according to E-Solar’s website.

In an earlier release, the California Public Utilities Commission approved a twenty year contract between Rosemead based Edison and E-Solar Inc. late last year. The agreement calls for Edison to purchase up to 245 megawatts of electricity from solar power plants built by E-Solar in the northern Antelope Valley.

The power plants will use mirrors to focus sunlight on towers containing water. The water is heated and turned into steam, which powers turbines and generates electricity. These solar power plants are set to come online in early 2012.

There is a significant amount of Wind Energy being produced in the Antelope Valley currently, and now a number of Solar Energy producers are breaking ground in Lancaster and Mojave Ca. Many of these Solar Power companies have been buying land outside Lancaster and Palmdale, Ca. turning this area into a potential thriving Green Energy Zone. This news bodes well for the future economy of Antelope Valley, and for current and future land owners. Stay tuned here for more news on this green energy front.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Biden says California is Prime Target for High Speed Rail Project

Although California is in a budget crisis, Vice President Joe Biden said that the state's high-speed rail project is well positioned to compete for a large share of the $8 billion that the Obama administration set aside in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for rail lines.

The planned high-speed rail system would commute passengers between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 2 hours and 40 minutes. The train would stop in Palmdale, Ca as a major stop, and it would be a major boost for the local economy, making access to the Antelope Valley even easier. California voters approved $9 billion in bonds for the project in the recent November election. The state hopes federal funding and the private sector will complete the expected $34 billion estimated budget, which is only the first phase, which would connect San Francisco to Anaheim. The second phase would further connect a total 800 miles from Sacramento to San Diego traveling primarily down the center of the State via Fresno and Bakersfield. Construction between Anaheim and San Francisco would take at least a decade, according to planners.

Reports indicate that the portion that initially applies to the Recovery Act criteria for high-speed rail would be the rail line between San Francisco to San Jose and Los Angeles to Anaheim. The administration is looking for “shovel ready” opportunities which entail having contracts awarded by 2012 and work completed by 2017.

The potential real estate impact for the Antelope Valley is years away, but it bodes well for towns just outside of major metropolitan areas. There will be vacant land opportunities up and down the State, and this is another example for buying land within the path of growth, and getting there before development creates the greatest percentage of growth. We will see how this all transpires, but the focus of California and the current administration is mass transit and near term employment opportunities.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Auction Option

There are a number of ways to buy land, and sell land at a good price range. The MLS (multiple listing services) is the most common means via a broker. A broker can guide the buyer and seller through the process. A new more risky means is buying via an auction. There are many private auctions and county auctions where land is sold. We have found in both private and public auctions the selling prices can be favorable and unfavorable. A buyer needs to be well informed regarding land before potentially losing capital in a bad purchase.

Several years ago during market highs we witnessed a County auction where prices raised twenty to fifty percent above retail. Buyers were overbidding land for greater prices then they could have negotiated from the local MLS. These auctions can create a price frenzy to buy a property that a purchaser feels is the best property on the list. The reality is there are many decent properties available at auctions if you have performed your due diligence. A buyer should have a specific maximum price range and stick to it. We have also found where auctions list parcels which are street easements, ally's, mountain sides, and flood zones. An uninformed buyer will overbid and they are left holding a useless property in many cases.

The professional auction bidders have aerial maps, plat maps, real estate software, and historical information on properties and have viewed the property. The professional investor has typically "walked the property", so they know what they are investing in.

Beware the auction option, since you should know what you are investing in. In many cases you can hire a professional to buy for you at the auction. You pay a small commission and they can do the research and bid for you in you name. You could own a well priced investment, or own an unsellable piece of land. Buyers beware the auction.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Small investments can go a long way in Land Banking

Do you have twenty thousand?

We have heard from a number of potential real estate investors who have limited savings but not enough to buy a home in high priced states like California. In some cities like Dayton, Ohio, or Oklahoma City you can buy a home for sixty to one hundred thousand and rent it for five hundred a month. After insurance, rental fees, maintenance, travel, and taxes your return on rent will be virtually the same as a low risk CD. We think land banking may be a better risk reward opportunity for small capital investors.

San Fernando Valley California in Los Angeles County is a prime example of a past land banking opportunity. In 1950 the population was 250 thousand and today the Valley's population is 2.7 million according to the US Census. A $40,000 well placed investment there in 1968 would have increased 1000% by 1980 to $400,000. This is a huge return, and granted forty thousand was a larger investment in 1968. But this scenario shows population growth and a well placed investment can provide positive returns.

Antelope Valley in Northern Los Angeles County may provide a similar opportunity. Antelope Valley comprises of two main cities, Lancaster and Palmdale. They have a combined population of approximately 350 thousand today, and an abundance of vacant land. Antelope Valley has approximately 49% of the available pre-developed land in LA County. California's population is expected to grow to 60 million by 2050 and Southern California is expected to have the highest growth rates according to recent reports. This adds up to a great opportunity, which rivals San Fernando Valley results. The area has the potential for population growth, low capital entry point, and availability.

Land is still inexpensive in Antelope Valley and there are a number of ways to locate a well placed investment. We think offers some of the best low priced well placed investments that have the potential to produce lucrative returns. They also have land available for an investment of less than twenty thousand.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Where Is The Real Discount Land For Sale?

Many of our readers and prospective clients have searched on the Internet for discount land. This is easier typed then done. There are a number of vacant land dealers which can be found on a simple Internet search, but who is getting the deal? A number of these land promoters are implying that their parcels are dicounted, but after review we found different results.

We found high prices in our comparison. We looked at three land sites in Lancaster and Palmdale Ca. Two very similar parcels at 190th East at J. The website is promoting a 2.31 acre property for $39,900, while promotes a 2.31 acre property next door at 190th East at I-14 for $18,500. Half price for the same property, wow. Another example is where is promoting a 2.5 acre property at 65th West at H-8 in Lancaster for $110,000, while is promoting a similar 5 acre parcel at 62nd West at F-4 for $110,000. That's twice the parcel for the same price. Vacantlanddeals clearly has the discounted land here, and they do promote their prices as ten to twenty percent below the retail market. These are just a couple of examples, but it shows there are drastic differences in pricing on online sites.

Buyers need to do their due diligence on properties before they buy. If there is a property you desire then there may be a similar property elsewhere for a better price. An informed buyer needs to be aware of the land prices to ensure they are getting a good price in an up or down market. They also should do their best to verify all the details regarding a properties zoning, access, title issues, and location to services. We hope to help in this matter by continually informing buyers of opportunities and information that we feel you need to know.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Solar Wind is Creating Green Energy Land Investment Opportunities in Los Angeles County

There has been much talk in the news media and the Obama Administration regarding cap and trade, and global warming solutions. You may ask where this green energy momentum will take root. Well we see some indications in California which has been leading the way in the US regarding going green. We have noticed there has been growing development in Antelope Valley with Wind and Solar technologies. E-solar has acquired $130 million in funding from and Oak Investment Partners and they have signed a power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison Power to build a 245 megawatts solar plant in the Antelope Valley region of Los Angeles County. There will be a series of fully operational plants which will begin production in 2011, and targeted operational by 2012 according to news sources. There have also been large purchases of land in several parts of the Antelope Valley by Solar energy companies over the past year. It is either an E-solar subsidiary or a solar competitor. In addition, Luz Solar Partners has a fully operational solar plant at Kramer Junction near Hwy 58 and Hwy 395 in San Bernardino County for several years now.

If you drive through Tehachapi, California in Northern Antelope Valley you will see many Wind Turbines taking advantage of the heavy winds through the grape vine and Antelope Valley. Lance Dorman of said, “This area is slowly and quietly becoming fertile ground for green energy solutions”. We spoke to a recent land buyer who purchased land in Kern County and a Wind Energy Company approached them within months to lease their land to install their turbine towers, Dorman said.

These are real time Land banking opportunities taking place right now in Lancaster and Palmdale California and the growth appears to be just beginning. Real Estate is at market lows, and the push for the nation and globe to go green is in its infancy. Many property owners purchase land in the Antelope Valley a number of years ago if not decades ago, and they are reaping rewards today. If this area continues to be ground zero for green energy technologies then the Land banking turnaround could be much shorter.