River Estates is a waterfront gated community in Blythe, California. Because it is waterfront to the Colorado River (state border), you are literally across the river from the State of Arizona. River Estates at Hidden Beaches (its full name) has a total of 99 lots and is located just north of town. The community was developed by Roger Snellenberger in the 2005 time frame. At that time, waterfront lots sold for over $300,000 and there were waterfront homes selling in the $600,000 to $700,000 range. Obviously the housing bubble bursting has had a dramatic effect on prices, however, River Estates remains possibly the most sought after single family home areas in Southeastern California.
While Blythe is by no means a high dollar housing market, in fact, it is one of the least expensive places in Southern California to live, riverfront River Estates homes are still selling in the mid to upper $300,000 range. Riverfront is a key factor. While people who live across the street from the river can still take advantage of the community boat dock and a short walk to the Colorado River, they are still not waterfront and this can be a difference of $100,000 or more in value. Because the community is new, all the homes are newer homes and there are no homes out of place or needing to be torn down. The houses generally have a number of upgrades like granite countertops, tile floors, boat deep garages, etc. The HOA takes care of homeowners’ front yards which ensures better curb appeal for the overall community.
River Estates still has foreclosures and short sales that are being worked through as of 2013; however, these numbers are declining. In the next year, experts are anticipating that virtually all of the homes and lots will be in stronger hands with lower interest rates locked in that make another wave of foreclosures unlikely. With riverfront lots having sold as low as $69,000, some new construction is possible in the near future but more likely those buyers are going to hold for a few years until home sale prices increase significantly so that new construction makes sense. Because River Estates homes are attractive to some of the upper echelon income earners in Blythe, appreciation in home prices will probably require more income growth from people like doctors, business executives and retired investors. While this has not been the case in the desert areas of California for the past several years, this could shift in the not too distant future.