Town of Paradise sees housing boom after catastrophic 2018 Camp Fire

Even though mortgage applications are down, California home prices keep rising, leaving many Bay Area shoppers unable to buy.

Like Paradise, a town wiped off the map by the Camp Fire is now rising with home deals galore.

Paradise is at the beginning of its own build boom, but with a much lower buy-in. This after more than 90% of the town was destroyed by the 2018 Camp Fire.

Elizabeth Milbauer's family relocated from Lodi and got a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom hillside home with a basement on 13 acres of land. The home is located just outside of Paradise and was priced at $470,000.

"This was an immediate yes for us because we'd seen how far the town had come," said Milbauer. 

In Paradise 1,400 homes have already been rebuilt, many of the homes available to all. Currently, there are some 150 listings for lots and finished houses. High speed fiber optics and buried power lines are the rule.

"They have brand new parks all over the place. They have brand-new facilities. Every home is brand new," said Milbauer.

Another thousand home sites are already permitted and in progress said the Director of the Paradise Realtors Association.

"We're the fastest growing community in California and one of the fastest growing in the nation," said Aubrey Pruis, head of the association.

Pruis, a Paradise returnee, came back to manage the Realtors Association and buy his dream home.

"I'm buying five acres. A five-acre ranch with a farm house. The five acres and a horse property, and I'm getting that for $349,000," said Pruis.

"The main price range is in that $400,000 to $500,000 price range," said Fathom Realty Group Agent Doug Speicher.

Buying a third to half-acre lot $30,000 to $60,000 in town usually includes utility hookups, a sewer or septic system plus building credits for replacing a lost home.

"We're getting a lot of people who are relocating," said Speicher. That includes folks returning to Paradise, and many from the Bay Area, L.A. as well as some from more recent wildfire areas.

 Helping fuel the boom is the fact that many people can now work remote from wherever they want.

"Go somewhere where the housing stock is becoming more plentiful and, I mean, it's growing literally every day," said Pruis.

"Paradise is like this magical little place where the market is still a little low because, you're right, people don't know or really realize it's here and it's actually gonna grow back," said Milbauer.

The biggest drawback, making sure the cost of fire insurance is not a deal breaker.