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Daily Business Report — Jan. 15, 2013

San Diego Home Prices Jump Dramatically

The median price paid for a home in San Diego County in December shot up by16.2 percent from a year ago, while the number of home sales jumped by 13.2 percent, according to DataQuick of San Diego, a real estate information service.

December 2011 median: $315,000
December 2012 median: $366,000

December 2011 home sales: 3,311
December 2012 home sales: 3,757

November 2012 home sales: 3,371
November 2012 median: $358,000

Southern California Totals:

Southern California’s housing market ended 2012 with the highest December home sales in three years, the result of robust investment activity, a record level of cash buyers and more sales gains in move-up markets. The median sale price jumped nearly 20 percent from a year ago, pushed higher by greater demand and the market’s shift away from foreclosure resales and toward more mid- to high-end deals, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 20,274 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was up 5.1 percent from 19,285 sales in November, and up 5.3 percent from 19,247 sales in December 2011, according to San Diego-based DataQuick. The median price paid for a home in the six-county Southland was $323,000 last month, up 0.6 percent from $321,000 in November and up 19.6 percent from $270,000 in December 2011.

“The housing market had more to offer in 2012 than many anticipated,” said John Walsh, DataQuick president. “A lot of markets not only found a price bottom as foreclosures waned but they started to see their first meaningful gains in nearly two years. Buyers on the fence were drawn back into the housing game by amazingly low mortgage rates, a brighter jobs outlook and, in some cases, a renewed sense of urgency.”

South Bay Power Plant Implosion Set for Feb. 2

The South Bay Power Plant, on the Chula Vista bayfront since the 1950s, is to be imploded on Feb. 2 to make way for future public parks. The actual implosion event, set for 7 a.m., will take fewer than two minutes and will sound like rolling thunder with reverberations, according to Port of San Diego officials. A number of small, controlled explosive charges will be placed within the steel and concrete power block structure in order to bring it down. Heavy equipment will then be used to break up the structure. The project is expected to generate about 21,000 tons of recyclable metals and up to 3,400 tons of other non-hazardous waste, which will be recycled and salvaged when feasible.

The 165-foot tall plant, formerly operated by Dynegy South Bay, was shut down at the end of 2010, the California Independent System Operator determining that it was no longer useful. Future development at the site will be a 24-acre public park, 14-acre RV park, 36 acres for industrial uses and a 25-acre buffer zone at the western perimeter.

San Diego Crops Mostly Unscathed In Freezing Temperatures

San Diego farmers have been on high alert and working around the clock as overnight temperatures plunged to near-record lows of 21-31 degrees over the past three nights, KPBS reports. Temperatures that low, if sustained, pose a serious threat to crops. National Weather Service forecasters expected more than 11 hours of below freezing temperatures in wind-sheltered valley locations, but fortunately, the bitter cold was less extensive than expected. Eric Larson, executive director of the San Diego Farm Bureau, said farmers also dodged significant crop damage with the help of wind machines and water. “We were mostly concerned in this freeze about the nursery crops and the avocado trees because they’re both fairly tender crops to be grown, but fortunately the freeze protections the farmers put in place and the fact that the weather changed a little bit made a big difference,” said Larson. He said there was only minimal damage to some low-elevation avocados. “In San Pasqual valley and in Pauma Valley, it appears that some avocados may have had some tip burn, may have had some new growth burn back from the cold,” he said. “But at this point it doesn’t appear that it was enough to damage the fruit on the trees or to actually harm the trees too much. San Diego’s overall agriculture industry is valued at $1.7 billion a year. Nursery plants represent $1 billion of that, and avocados, the second largest crop, are worth $150 million.

SCORE San Diego Launches Business Enhancement Forums

SCORE San Diego is expanding its services for established business owners with Business Enhancement Forums, designed to give business owners an opportunity to meet in small groups to share approaches on business development and operating challenges. In each forum, approximately 12 business owners from non-competing businesses use peer review to provide support, address common issues, and discuss a mix of business and leadership matters. SCORE San Diego mentors facilitate the monthly, half-day forums, offering guidance on problem solving and skills development.

The Forum program is tailored to both mature businesses and those in an earlier development phase. The CEO Forum is for owners of established companies with at least $1 million in annual revenue and five or more non-family employees. The Founders Forum, which caters to newer businesses with at least $250,000 in revenues and three non-family employees. New CEO and Founders Forum groups are formed when 10-12 candidates have applied and qualified. For more information, visit www.sandiego.score.org or call (619) 557-7272.

Urban Compost Center to Open in Tijuana

The first urban compost center in Tijuana will be opened on Wednesday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Border Environment Cooperation Commission and the Municipality of Tijuana. The center is located in the district of San Miguel, between Boulevards Puente Insurgentes and Liga Lazaro Cardenas-Rapid Lane. The opening ceremony will be at 10 a.m. The center will produce about 150 tons of compost in its first year and will be used to plant trees and nurseries throughout the city of Tijuana. It will be used as an education venue to increase public awareness about composting as a practice to divert reusable, organic material from landfills as well as increase local expertise on composting best practices. Some of the grant money will go towards the development of a compost practice manual, a website with composting information resources, and workshops lead by expert composters.

Colliers International Promotes Five Brokers

The San Diego and Carlsbad offices of Colliers International announced the promotion of five brokers based on exemplary performance in 2012. Ciara Layne has been promoted to vice president, specializing in land sales of both single family and attached developments. Rob Morgan has been promoted to vice president, specializing in mid-to-high density residential land sales throughout the San Diego area. Joe Crotty has been named senior vice president focusing on industrial and R&D sales and leasing in North County. Derek Hulse has been promoted to associate vice President, specializing in the leasing and sale of office properties in the central San Diego office markets. Erik McNary has been named associate vice president, specializing in the leasing and sales of industrial, land and R&D properties in North County.

Procopio Law Firm Adds Three New Attorneys

Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch announced the addition of three attorneys to its San Diego and Del Mar Heights offices. Amy S. Cannon joins the firm as of counsel, while Michael R. Kiesling joins as senior counsel and Ryan M. Dietz joins as an associate.  Cannon’s practice focuses on real estate transactions, including real property purchase and sale, commercial leasing, easements and licenses, financing and related business matters.  Kiesling has a broad-based real estate and commercial litigation practice, assisting developers, landowners, contractors, lenders, and commercial tenants. Dietz’s practice encompasses business and civil litigation with a focus on construction litigation and construction disputes.

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The Daily Business Report is produced by SD METRO.

Contact: Manny Cruz (619) 287-1865. manny@sandiegometro.com.

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