Even though mortgage applications are down, home prices in California continue to rise, keeping many Bay Area buyers from buying.

Like Paradise, a city wiped off the map by the campfire is growing with plenty of real estate offerings.

Paradise is at the start of its own building boom, but with a much lower buy-in. This after more than 90% of the city was destroyed by the 2018 campfire.

Elizabeth Milbauer’s family moved 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.

“It was an immediate yes for us because we had seen how far the city had come,” Milbauer said.

In paradise, 1,400 houses have already been rebuilt, most of which are accessible to everyone. Currently there are approximately 150 listings of land and finished homes. High-speed fiber optics and buried power lines are the rule.

“They have brand new parks everywhere. They have brand new facilities. Every house is brand new,” Milbauer said.

Another thousand home sites are already licensed and in the works, said the director of the Paradise Realtors Association.

“We are the fastest growing community in California and one of the fastest growing in the country,” said Aubrey Pruis, association manager.

Pruis, a returnee from Paradise, has returned to manage the Association of Estate Agents and buy his dream home.

“I’m buying five acres. A five-acre ranch with a farmhouse. The five acres and horse property, and I’m getting it for $349,000,” Pruis said.

“The main price range is between $400,000 and $500,000,” said Fathom Realty Group agent Doug Speicher.

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

“We get a lot of people moving,” Speicher said. This includes people returning to paradise, and many from the Bay Area, LA as well as some of the more recent wildfire areas.

The fact that many people can now work remotely, wherever they want, is helping to fuel the boom.

“Go somewhere where the housing stock is getting more plentiful and, I mean, it’s literally growing every day,” Pruis said.

“Heaven is like this magical little place where the market is still a little bit down because, you’re right, people don’t really know or realize it’s there and it’s actually going to push back,” Milbauer said. .

The biggest downside is making sure the cost of fire insurance isn’t a deal breaker.