SOURCE: The Hoffman Company

The Hoffman Company

February 29, 2012 13:10 ET

The Hoffman Company Sees Real Estate Oasis in Coachella Valley

IRVINE, CA--(Marketwire - Feb 29, 2012) - The Hoffman Company, in its 34th year of serving California homebuilders and developers, has tapped a real estate market that few land brokers have noted: the Coachella Valley. While many real estate markets in the Inland Empire remain stagnant, the Coachella Valley has been as hot as its desert climate and land is changing hands at a fast clip.

The Hoffman Company's Erik Christianson is one of the top land brokers in the Coachella Valley. With more than 20 transactions closed in the desert in just the last three years and almost a dozen more in the works, he is the go-to land expert in the desert.

"This area has more market segment variety than West Riverside County," said Christianson, who has been with the Hoffman Company for seven years. "The housing stock (in West Riverside County) is rather homogenous, but in the desert we're seeing homes prices as low as $100,000 in Desert Hot Springs to over $2 million in Rancho Mirage. It's a very dynamic and vibrant market."

The Coachella Valley is approximately 100 miles east-southeast of Los Angeles and north-northeast of San Diego, bounded by the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains on the west and the Little San Bernardino Mountains. It has caught the attention of homebuilders, who are now replacing buy-and-hold investors as the area's most active buyers of land, according to Christianson. Companies like DR Horton, Lennar, and Far West Industries are building new homes now and Toll Brothers will be soon. This is only going to help the housing market in the valley recover more quickly than some other parts of the Inland Empire.

One -- perhaps THE -- core strength of the real estate business in the desert is the amazing diversity of the homebuyer market. It seems everyone from seniors and baby boomers to same sex couples, to those seeking second or vacation homes, and even Canadians are flocking to the Coachella Valley (the year-round warmth might have a little bit to do with it).

Once best known as the staid getaway of the elite of Hollywood's Golden Age, these days the desert boasts more than just homes owned by names like Hope, Sinatra, Shore and Autry. The Coachella Valley has become a hotbed of entertainment and activity in its own right, and the sheer variety of options adds to the area's appeal to home seekers.

Exhibit A is the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, an annual multi-day festival held in late April at the Empire Polo Club in Indio that features multiple music genres, including rock, indie, hip hop and electronic as well as large sculptural art. Two-thousand and twelve marks the 11th year of the festival, which annually draws crowds of approximately 100,000 people. This year festival organizers doubled the massive event over two back-to-back weekends -- and still the tickets sold out in less than three hours.

The area is also one of the world's premier golf destinations. More than 200 courses dot the desert landscape, and the PGA Tour frequently swings through the area. In fact, La Quinta plays host to the Merrill Lynch Skins Game every year over Thanksgiving weekend.

Palm Springs and its environs are also benefitting from Measure J, an initiative passed by the city's voters last November that called for a 1 percent increase in the sales tax with the proceeds designated for municipal services and, more significantly, a downtown revitalization project that is breathing new life into the old town.

The most significant development stemming from Measure J is the demolition and recreation of the Desert Fashion Plaza mall in downtown Palm Springs. Developed in the 1960s, the once-bustling mall has been shuttered for years, but a $100 million redevelopment project that is expected to debut late in 2014 is expected to dramatically improve the area.

Even the fallout from the housing meltdown of the past four years seems to have had a lesser impact in the desert than elsewhere -- at least as far as land transaction activity. "We've been getting more offers and listings, and even bidding wars, particularly for improved or finished lots," said Christianson, who estimates that as much as 75 percent of the distressed property inventory originated from the peak years has been transacted in the Coachella Valley.

About The Hoffman Company
The Hoffman Company was founded in 1978, pioneering modern land sales throughout California. Since that time our firm continues to grow, adapt and perfect land sales drawing from our 30 years of experience. As we move into our third decade in business our commitment to serving the needs of homebuilders and land developers throughout California has become even stronger. When you have an asset as valuable as land, it pays to work with California's most experienced land brokerage firm.

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