By Kevin Smith, Staff Writer
Posted: 01/12/2013 04:25:32 PM PST
Updated: 01/12/2013 06:16:22 PM PST

The starts and stops of building at Rosedale, a master-planned community in Azusa, is a microcosm of last decade’s roller-coaster ride for Southern California’s new-home construction industry.

When Azusa Land Partners launched the development back in 2005, the region’s housing market was roaring. Work on the 518- acre development began the following year with the construction of 120 homes.

But things quickly soured as the nation began sliding into recession. The resulting collapse of the U.S. housing market ultimately brought Rosedale to a standstill.

Today the project is revitalized. Construction has resumed under a new partnership that formed in 2010, and 355 new homes have been built. Nearly all of them are already occupied.

“It’s coming back slowly, but it’s been a lot quicker than I thought it would be,” said David Guthery, a superintendent for the new group, Rosedale Land Partners. “Everybody loves the fact that it’s moving. They’re saying, ‘Wow — there’s some production going on.”‘

A similar tale is repeating throughout the Los Angeles region, where hundreds of homes are once again under construction.

And this time around, the demand is for bigger houses, with more bedrooms and square footage, as consumers tap into record-low interest rates to get more bang for their buck.

“The market is absolutely coming back,” said Steve Johnson, director of the Southern California region for Metrostudy, a real estate information and consulting firm. “It’s not going back to where it was overnight, but you’re going to see a 15 (percent) to 20 percent increase in home starts this year over 2012.”

Steve Ruffner, president of the Southern California region for KB Home, said he’s feeling good about Southern California’s housing market.

“Demand is good and buyers are coming out,” he said. “We’ve seen a lot people who are disenfranchised by the lack of inventory, but it’s kind of an exciting time.”

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