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Modestly Priced Homes Planned Near Coto de Caza : Housing: Kaufman & Broad buys 650 lots on 92 acres just outside upscale community in one of the county's biggest land deals of year.


In one of the largest land purchases in Orange County this year, Kaufman & Broad Home Corp. on Tuesday bought 650 lots just outside the upscale planned community of Coto de Caza.

The company, California's largest home builder, plans nearly 900 moderately priced houses for the 92-acre South County parcel, which real estate insiders valued at about $35 million. Los Angeles-based Kaufman & Broad, a specialist in homes for first-time buyers, will be the primary builder.

The new neighborhood will border a community that includes luxurious custom-built homes, many of them on huge lots with riding trails and other equestrian facilities. Now called Oso de Oro, it will feature detached houses expected to be priced from $150,000 to $250,000.

The affordable housing will satisfy guidelines drawn by Orange County when the original plan for Coto de Caza was approved, said Tom Martin, vice president of marketing for Coto de Caza Ltd. The company is a partnership of Chevron Land Co. and Arvida/JMP Partners.

"There needs to be a sense of place created there by Kaufman & Broad. They will have to create it and name it," Martin said. "While this neighborhood is part of the Coto plan, it is a separate and distinct community."

Roland Osgood, president of the South Coast Division of Kaufman & Broad, said those details have yet to be worked out.

"I think when people find out they can live in south Orange County close to places of work for under $200,000--that's where the market is now," Osgood said. "This is a self-contained project. It's almost like Coto because it's close to everything, yet you're away from everything."

The housing lots are expected to range from 3,500 square feet to 5,000 square feet. Sales are set to begin in 1995.

Plans for the new neighborhood also call for about 200 townhomes. No deal has been signed with a builder for that part of the project, Martin said.

With home prices in Orange County having fallen about 20% from their highs in the mid-1980s and with entry-level houses accounting for more than half of units sold last year, several once-exclusive South County communities are looking at adding more modestly priced properties.

At Dove Canyon, an 872-acre gated community near Coto de Caza, about 36 lots originally planned for custom-built homes were sold this year to a developer who built houses priced from $350,000 to $450,000, said Pamela Smith, vice president for marketing of Dove Canyon Co.

"There are more affordable single-family homes in south Orange County. The lots are smaller," said Jeffrey Meyers, president of Meyers Group, a real estate consulting firm in Newport Beach.

Meyers said the Oso de Oro land sale is one of the largest in the county this year. "It's obviously a significant transaction," he said. "Will it be a success? Absolutely."

New Neighborhood

Kaufman & Broad Home Corp. has bought land to build houses on 650 lots just outside Coto de Caza. The particulars:

* Acres: 92

* Lots: 3,500 to 5,000 square feet each

* Housing mix: About 650 detached homes and 200 townhomes

* Prices: $150,000 to $250,000

Source: Kaufman & Broad; Researched by JANICE L. JONES / Los Angeles Times

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