A great lifestyle and a great location. Those are two primary reasons people like living in Granite Bay. They like to be close to hospitals, transportation, schools and shopping.
"There are a multitude of amenities that lead to the great lifestyle," said Realtor Ken Svarnum of Bishop Real Estate Group Coldwell Banker.
Kendra Bishop, also of Bishop Real Estate Group, agrees.
"Granite Bay has phenomenal schools and recreation," she said. "Folsom Lake is close, so are trails for mountain biking. It's a fabulous location for people with families."
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The schools are just one reason Wendi Calton likes living in Granite Bay. She likes the influence that school and team sports have had on her two older sons, who are choosing careers related to sports medicine and sports marketing.
She also credits Grandpa Frank Calton's influence on her children. He's very close by.
Calton, her husband, Jim, and four sons live on what they call "Calton Commons," which has three family homes. Grandparents Frank and Jo-Anne Calton live in one home. The Caltons' son John, his wife, Stacey, and four youngsters, live in another, and Wendi and family live in the third.
"It's common ground," Wendi Calton said. "We share a swimming pool and basketball court."
Calton, who has lived in the community since 1997, also likes Granite Bay's location.
"There's so much to do, and we spend so much time at Folsom Lake," she said.
Svarnum said the community's proximity to Sacramento International Airport is convenient for people who work at home and need to travel on business.
"Granite Bay has that bull's eye on it for working from home," Svarnum said.
In the past decade, Granite Bay has seen an influx of people from the Bay Area, which dropped off during the real estate downturn but is picking up again, Svarnum said.
"People not only buy homes, they buy an area," Svarnum said. "I see more families looking for a change of lifestyle and more home."
Bishop is seeing fewer "distress" sales, such as foreclosures and short sales, and more resales.
"Listings are flying off the shelf if they're priced right," Bishop said.
There are more buyers than sellers though, Svarnum said.
"Granite Bay is down 30 percent from a year ago in the number of listings," he said. "With low interest rates in some areas, sales are bouncing back up. People are getting off the fence and buying homes. I think more people will put their homes on the market. We are in that change mode."
Granite Bay lots are a little larger than those in other communities, and the area is more rural, Svarnum said. The price per square foot tends to be higher, but it depends on the home and the neighborhood.
Granite Bay has a diversity of homes and locations -- from small homes to large estates with acreage. Prices range from approximately $250,000 to $3.8 million.
"Homes run the full gamut, and that adds to the diversity of the area," Svarnum said.
Although many people who live outside the area think of Granite Bay as having primarily large homes in gated communities, Bishop said that's a misconception.
"There's a little bit of everything -- horse properties and mansions," she said. "There are tremendous-sized estates along Sierra College Boulevard. One is over 20,000 square feet. Folks driving the back roads in Granite Bay are just amazed. There are many little communities nestled among older homes."
Granite Bay has several large homes in named communities -- Bella Terra, Wexford, Los Lagos and the Residences at Granite Bay Golf Club. Several older, smaller homes are in areas on the way to the Granite Bay entrance to Folsom Lake and around Greenhills Elementary School.
Sandy Harris, editor of the Granite Bay Alert, and a community volunteer, said only about 12 percent of land is left to develop in the area.
"Granite Bay is pretty much built out," she said. "A lot of people don't consider us rural. They think of Granite Bay with large homes, but we have a lot of rural areas."
Harris has reported on developments in Granite Bay for online newsletter Granite Bay Alert. She also participated with a group of volunteers for the Granite Bay Community Association that worked with Placer County to update the community plan.
Many green items were suggested by the state, and it made sense to protect the environment, she said.
"We updated the goals and policies of the community plan but didn't make land-use changes," she said.
The plan protects and preserves the rural character, conserves natural resources, strengthens design guidelines and allows for revitalizing aging commercial sites, according to the Granite Bay Alert.
The plan also says gated communities are not permitted, Harris said. Gated communities in Granite Bay were built before the plan was developed.
She said "everyone" has gate codes for the communities, including pizza delivery people, garbage collectors and mail carriers.
Granite Bay has seen steady growth, said Harris, who has reported that Placer County received a proposal from Westwood Homes Inc. for a planned development, Greyhawk II, on 10.3 acres near Sierra College Boulevard. The development calls for 21 homes targeted for people age 50 and older, but it is not age-restricted.
The New Home Co. has a few homes under construction and a few lots left in the Collection at Granite Bay on Cavitt-Stallman Road off Douglas Boulevard. Floor plans range from 2,800 square feet to 3,700 square feet with as many as five bedrooms and four bathrooms. Lots can be as large as 20,000 square feet.
Granite Bay got its name because of Harris, who has been a member of a county advisory committee since its founding in 1985.
She received a community service award in 1987 from the Placer County Board of Supervisors for her work on the Granite Bay Municipal Advisory Council and for proposing the name Granite Bay.
"It seemed like a nice name for a community that's become a signature place to live," she said.
Before 1987, many homes in the area had Roseville post office addresses, but Harris said Granite Bay never was part of the city of Roseville.
"It was in the Roseville sphere of influence that extended to Barton Road, and then was ultimately pulled back to Sierra College," she said.
The area was identified by various names over the years. In the 1800s, it was called Allen's District, named for a family that lived in the area.
The Allen ranch is now part of Shelborne Estates, a community along Auburn-Folsom Road, which was once a trail linking '49er gold-miner claims along the American River. The road is a connection between homes and shopping areas.
Granite Bay has a country feel, yet it's close to amenities, Svarnum said.
Quarry Ponds offers a selection of restaurants, a fish and meat market, Peet's Coffee and small specialty shops. Basic shopping is available at Douglas Boulevard and Auburn-Folsom Road, and Roseville's large malls are close by.
And Wendi and Jim Calton are adding a new business. They will open Little Bliss Cakery in mid-June, selling cupcakes, ice cream and candy -- sweets for the community they love.
"It's our ministry in the marketplace," Wendi said.
Granite Bay has so much to offer, Bishop said.
"It's just a great little sleeper community," she said. "It's a little gem."