Real Estate Construction and Condo Market in Downtown Sacramento

kings arena downtown sacramento

Back side of the Sacramento Kings Arena, the Golden 1 Center, on L Street near 5th.

Lots of people are beginning to bank on property values going up near the new downtown Sacramento Kings Arena, now named the Golden 1 Center, and with good reason. Parts of downtown Sacramento are going through renovation, which often tends to boost values in the neighborhoods near by. And there is a lot to point toward, from the older expansion of the Crocker Museum to the revitalization of K Street and all the construction buzz for boutique hotels, new condos and apartment buildings.

Rents are going up, too. In fact, in some neighborhoods, it is cheaper to buy a home in Sacramento than to rent. The buy-and-hold investors are coming back. There is a big difference between the flipper investors and regular investors. I think it’s funny that we call the flippers “investors” when they are more like gamblers. Sometimes they win and sometimes they lose and they never seem to know when to fold. For the long run, investors who buy homes to rent them out look more for value than trying to squeeze every last dime out of a transaction and better fit the term investor.

kings arena Golden 1 Center

Construction in progress at Kings Arena, Golden 1 Center, downtown Sacramento on L Street, 9/13/15.

Those thoughts ran through my head yesterday as my husband and I headed to the Sacramento Library on I Street and drove down L Street. I recall several years ago the condos at 15th Street at Stanford Court that used to sell for $150,000 are now moving in the $300,000 range and up. Those condos also rent for $1,500 and up. Some projects have remained fairly stable, like the Saratoga Townhouses over at 9th and Q Streets, but some of the others like Bridgeway Towers, for example, at 500 N Street, why, those prices have jumped through the roof. I’ve had short sales at $250K or so and those prices are almost double in 2015.

We also drove by flippers on 3rd Street in downtown Sacramento and, like the homes going in on 5th Street, the Mill at Broadway in Land Park, some of the reason for that construction is cheap land. Land is usually cheap because it’s either contaminated, like the railroad cleanup in Curtis Park Village, or it’s in a bad location, like under a freeway. I don’t know why people want to live under a freeway but they will, and I’m not talking about the homeless. Why do they want to buy in McKinley Village? I suspect it’s the same reason people will live on busy streets, affordability coupled with a connection to others.

It’s almost like a life-force to some buyers, the screaming freeway. Cars zipping by, a continual traffic hum of automobile tires, accentuated by the occasional compounding of racket made by 16-wheelers and motorcycles. I spotted new homes going in at the corner of Santa Buena and Swanson in Land Park, up against Interstate 5. This was a plot of land that the neighborhood rallied around to make into a dog park, but it never happened. I’ve sold homes on Santa Buena, and it’s one of the hardest places to sell homes in Land Park, except for those on Freeport or by the railroad tracks.

When you run out of land in a city, you get what is left, and the real estate mantra of location, location, location seems to matter less and less to home buyers. Well, until the day they become a home seller.

photos by Elizabeth Weintraub

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