A new home project launched by national builder K. Hovnanian last year appears to be attracting buyers to Tehachapi, even with increasing mortgage interest rates and construction costs.
The Corona-based company was before the Tehachapi Planning Commission in September 2021 for approval of designs for homes it sought to build on 55 lots in the former Alta Estates subdivision located on the southern edge of the city north of Highline Road and west of Curry Street.
Construction on a since-completed model home began in August and on Saturday, Nov. 26, a sales agent for the project said the homes are selling well.
Anna Banuelos displayed a plot plan of KHov’s Tehachapi Hills project that shows six homes sold (in escrow) and six others under construction with three of those identified as available for quick delivery. One model home has been completed and three others are planned.
Most of the buyers so far have been engineers who work in the aviation and aerospace industries, Banuelos said.
Four home plans are available, ranging from 1,927 square feet to 2,401 square feet. All are single-story. The current price sheet shows the cost of homes ranges from $492,500 to $565,500. The price depends not only upon the model selected but also the size of the lot and selected options. Lots average about 8,500 square feet with some much larger and a few smaller.
Banuelos said a current offer is available to help buyers with interest rate concerns.
According to the KHov website, through the end of December the company is offering a 3/2/1 interest rate buydown at Tehachapi Hills for select quick move-in homes. Details are available on the company’s website, khov.com.
A model home for the subdivision is open at 233 Carmelita Lane, Tehachapi, near Warrior Park. Current hours are Monday from 2 to 5 p.m. and Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information, call Banuelos at 661-443-0004.
The new KHov homes are built in Tract 6216, known previously as the Alta Estate housing tract. The subdivision of 122.7 acres into 384 lots was approved by the city in 2003. The final maps for the lots currently being developed were recorded late in 2006.
But by 2007, construction of homes halted and the developer filed for bankruptcy protection in 2008 — an action that was not uncommon for real estate developers during a major recession at the time.
The city of Tehachapi, however, was successful in completing infrastructure in Tract 6216. The city took legal action and received a settlement of $2.4 million that enabled it to complete improvements. Another builder started building and eventually, homes in the first three phases were completed, but 122 lots in phases four and five remained vacant until KHov took on the challenge of building on 55 of them.
Although some new homes have been built in other areas of the city — largely filling in vacant lots on previously subdivided land — there has not been much homebuilding in recent years.
In December 2021, Development Services Director Jay Schlosser said that in the past five years almost 500 homes have been built in subdivisions and other areas outside the city — but fewer than 50 were built in the city.
Not all planned homes make it off the drawing board.
Tract 7363 — a 57-acre project also known as The Address at Tehachapi — was intended to be developed into 238 single-family homes on the southeast corner of Tucker and Highline roads when a precise development plan for the first two phases of the project was approved by the Tehachapi Planning Commission in January.
However, in a document dated Sept. 12, the city noted that the project was expected to expire and that “the applicant had informed the city of plans to scrap the current project and pursue a new concept at some later date.” The project was proposed by a company called Comprehend and Copy Nature, LLC. In an email on Nov. 16, Alex Emdadi, the chief operating officer for the company, said he did not wish to comment.
However, Sage Ranch, the 995-unit residential subdivision proposed for a 138-acre parcel on Valley Boulevard near Tehachapi High School, appears to be moving forward. The project was approved by the City Council on Sept. 7, 2021. The developer’s proposal is to build the project in six phases over seven years. The terms of the approval included submitting a Precise Development Plan for the first phase within a year of that date.
On Oct. 10, the Planning Commission approved a request from the developer for a 90-day extension of the deadline for submitting the PDP, the next required step for the project.
The city’s approval of the Sage Ranch project in 2021 remains the subject of a lawsuit filed by the Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District in September 2021. The water district claimed that the city violated multiple state laws in its approval of the planned development. The city disagreed, saying in a statement that the district’s accusations were “unfortunate and unfounded.”
Schlosser told members of the Planning Commission on Oct. 10 that the lawsuit does not prevent the developer from moving forward with the project. And the city is expected to complete annexation of the project to a special tax district around Dec. 19.
Claudia Elliott is a freelance journalist and former editor of the Tehachapi News. She lives in Tehachapi and can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.