McKinley Village is a new 336-unit infill residential development in the City of Sacramento on 50 acres of land. It offers a variety of owner-occupied single-family residences and condos. There are 6-plex townhomes, zero-lot-line houses with alley-served garages, clustered homes with shared driveways and even a few traditional homes on regular lots. The prices (not counting upgrades) range from $350,000 to almost $1,000,000. There is a community center with a swimming pool. HOA fees and Mello Roos fees add about $330 a month. While realtors like to cite "location, location, location" as the basis for a home's value, in reality the site is on low-lying land surrounded by the busy Capital Cities freeway and train tracks. On the other side of the freeway is an old garbage dump and there is very limited access in and out of the project. The freeway noise is apparent despite the presence of a sound wall. Railroad noise is apparent too, because the tracks are high up on a levee. In other words, the site has a lot of baggage. Still, the designers and sales company have done a decent job of making "nice" homes that show well. The prices are more or less in line with East Sacramento real estate prices, which have gone through the roof lately.
A tour of the models currently on display raises some questions: Are the prices and property values accurate? Zillow says the median home value in Arden Arcade is $322,300, with the median list price at $360,000 or $247/square foot. But Zillow also says East Sacramento's median home value is $506,500, with the median list price at $630,750 or $427/square foot. McKinley Village's median sales price is roughly that of the rest of East Sac, though the per-square-foot prices are well below the East Sac norm, ranging from $280 to $340. Is it really worth THAT much more for a McKinley Village house set cheek-by-jowl with the neighbors and hemmed in by a freeway and the tracks vs. an Arden Arcade home on a decent-sized piece of land? And what about the variety of residences? If the housing types can be offered there, can they be offered here in Arden Arcade? What does it really take to make a residential area attractive for home buyers? What can Arden Arcade learn from McKinley Village?