With home prices in California continuing to go skyward, concerns over affordability have forced many municipalities to re-evaluate their housing strategies. The pull-up-the-gangplank policies that have dominated, reserving residential development for more upper-crust clientele, are giving way. The city of Hesperia, Calif., situated in the jack-rabbit land of the high-desert region of Southern California, is one in the midst of such change, mostly thanks to Frontier Homes.

Swayed by Frontier's plan to build more affordable housing, the municipality, located about 35 miles north of the Riverside/San Bernardino, Calif., area, recently reneged on its historical policy to prohibit the construction of new homes under 1,800 square feet of living area.

With the change, Frontier will be able to add two new floor plans to its product mix. The smaller homes, with price tags significantly below the area's median home sale price, will extend homeownership's reach into the hands of more working families.

The builder will construct roughly 59 of its 1,456-square-feet plan and 65 of its 1,628-square-feet plan in its 313-unit Barcelona Heights community. And although the current median price for a home in Hesperia is approximately $405,000, Frontier intends to debut the smallest plan at a price point of about $270,000. Senior vice president of sales and marketing Mike Dwight says, “By California standards, that's quite affordable–that's pretty darn good.”

But as an entry-level builder, the company already targets a price point lower than the median home price. However, a $270,000 sale price is roughly 18 percent below the lowest priced home that Frontier currently has on the Hesperia market.

Dwight says that to hit that price point, it's not just about smaller homes on slimmer lots. It's also about building in more peripheral locations. “We've done very well in these exurb areas,” he says.

He believes that when given the choice between renting and homeownership, working families will sacrifice a quick commute if it means finding a home they can afford.

“We call ourselves Frontier Homes for a reason. We like it out there on the frontier,” he jokes.

For a closer look at Frontier Homes, see “At a Glance” on page 21.

It's a Small World

  • In its Barcelona Heights, Calif., community, Frontier Homes will bring two new affordable housing products to Southern California's high-desert market.
  • The smallest model, a 1,456-square-foot, two-bedroom plan, will be priced around $270,000.
  • The price point, which is about $135,000 less than the area's median home price, intends to bring more working families into homeownership.
  • Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.