By BUILDER Magazine Staff. Why it worked: Affordable housing in Southern California means housing in the $400,000 range--an astonishing price to non-Californians. Garden Gate meets the affordability criteria. This project boasts of an "Inner Circle" of 1,000 people waiting for the opportunity to buy homes.

* Classic California styles--California Traditional, California Craftsman, Ranch, and Monterey--appeal to buyers.

* Garages avoid monotony and that dreaded "snout" look with a trio of variations: front, back, or rotated away from the street.

* Homes are pre-wired for networking and high-speed Internet access.

* Fire sprinkler systems installed throughout home and garage.

* Flexible plans feature anywhere from three to five bedrooms and up to four bathrooms.

* First-floor flex suite could be home office or guest suite.

Project Credits

Project: Garden Gate at 4S Ranch, San Diego; Sales started: September 2002; Sales through January 2003: 80; Units planned: 133 (80 released so far); Price: $410,880 to $466,880; Unit size: 1,900 to 2,270 square feet; Developer: Newland Communities, La Jolla, Calif.; Builder: SeaCountry Homes, Carlsbad, Calif.; Architect: Bassenian/Lagoni Architects, Newport Beach, Calif.; Interior designer: Design Tec, Costa Mesa, Calif.; Landscape Architect: Lundstrom & Associates, San Diego