Mike and Helena Veerkamp are new to Folsom, having just moved there in May.
They’re also newlyweds, married just six months ago.
They’re still unpacking boxes from two households. Mike moved from Granite Bay; Helena from El Dorado Hills. They like Folsom.
“I feel the city is community-focused,” Helena said. “There’s a good police department and I like the history.”
“Our commute downtown is not that much longer and the schools are highly rated,” Mike said. His daughters are in junior and senior high.
The couple started house hunting last October.
“I knew it would be a home God wanted for us,” Helena said.
They looked at the home they’re now in, but when it was taken off the market, they checked elsewhere.
“Our Realtor Bobby Taylor of Legacy was with us the whole way,” Mike said.
“When it came back on the market, we looked at it again to make sure it was what we liked. The home is warm and welcoming.”
So are the neighbors who hosted a party and introduced the couple to others living nearby.
Helena likes the centrality of Folsom and access to other areas where they do a lot of bicycle riding.
Work has begun on Folsom’s south of Highway 50 project, said Mayor Andy Morin.
“After decades in the planning stages, we’re finally seeing the beginning of infrastructure for houses and businesses.”
There’ll be 11,000 homes and 8,000 jobs in the area which was annexed in 2011, he said.
“We want to make sure we get a good housing-job balance.”
Ian Cornell of the CornellGroup said, “The first homes (south of 50) are expected to be completed at Folsom Ranch (the portion of the site west of Placerville Road) in 2018 and the first homes and a community clubhouse are expected at Russell Ranch (east of Placerville Road to the county line) in 2019.”
There are more than 500 contiguous acres of oak woodlands, 138 acres of community parks, 20 miles of trails, a town center, homes, transit improvements to mitigate traffic impacts and new elementary, middle and high schools.
“We want growth south of Highway 50 measurable in decades and manageable in growth,” Morin said.
“The area will have a broad mix from large homes on large lots to apartments. We want to make sure all housing needs are met from high income to first-time job seekers.”
Jobs will primarily be in medical (doctor’s offices and labs) and technology fields. There’ll also be retail jobs, but not as many as the others.
“I’m just really proud that this was a community-developed plan with 30 percent open space and quality, manageable growth.”
Another area that’s growing is historic Sutter Street near the parking structure.
Jerry Bernau of Bernau Development Corp. said the first of four buildings he’s developing will be a Roundhouse near the amphitheater and Sutter Street and will house Scott’s Seafood which is moving from Greenback Lane. It will be on the ground level; offices will be on the second.
The second building will be Granite House with 30 ground-level parking spaces and 30 condominiums for sale on the upper two floors.
The third will be Sutter Row with retail, offices and 17 residential units for lease and the fourth will be the Leidesdorff Building with retail, offices and 13 residential lofts.
“It’s kind of fun to be the first private developer since Joseph Folsom and William Alexander Leidesdorff,” he said. The two historical figures date back to Folsom’s early years.
Folsom’s businesses and shopping are attractive to residents.
Morin said, “We continue to work very closely with the Chamber of Commerce to recruit and retain businesses. There are robust and sustainable job prospects for our city.”
Coming to Folsom are Breakout Escape Rooms, Brewery Plaza, Broderick Restaurant, Five Guys Burgers, Lazy Dog Restaurant and others.
For recreation, Folsom has 45 miles of paved trails, 46 developed parks with fields, playgrounds, basketball, tennis and volleyball courts and the Aquatic Center.
New communities include Granite Trails and Granite Reserve both at Parkshore by Woodside Homes; La Collina Dal Lago and Morning Walk, Bernau Development Corp.; Cresleigh Ravine and Domain, Cresleigh Homes; The New Riata and Veranda at Empire Ranch, Elliott Homes. Elliott also offers lots at Lakeview Oaks at Empire Ranch and Terrazzo Estates at Broadstone.
Opening in late 2017 or 2018 will be Russell Ranch from The New Home Company; Harvest, Cal Atlantic; The Islands at Parkshore Phase 2, BlackPine Communities. CalAtlantic Homes and Taylor Morrison both will build at Mangini Ranch,which is south of 50.
Resale listings show 129 homes for sale (108 of which were new listings), 104 sold and 114 pending sale, said Cynthia Woods of Weichert Realtors.
“There are only 1.2 months of inventory of homes for sale which is very low. We would like to see four or five months of inventory.”
The average number of days on the market is 24.
Prices range from $349,000 to $1,790,000; average price is $660,000; median is $580,000. Homes sold in June ranged from $359,000 to $1.2 million.
Folsom’s quality of life is growing with medical services, schools and businesses, Morin said.
Bernau added, “Folsom’s sense of community is very important. It’s a community that people are attracted to.”
Like the Veerkamps.
Tinka Davi is a freelance writer and editor based in Folsom.
Where: About 25 miles east of Sacramento
Size: 27.6 square miles
Government: City Council/City Manager