When Azusa Land Partners launched the development back in 2005, the region's housing market was roaring. Work on the 518- acre development began the following year with the construction of 120 homes.
But things quickly soured as the nation began sliding into recession. The resulting collapse of the U.S. housing market ultimately brought Rosedale to a standstill.
Today the project is revitalized. Construction has resumed under a new partnership that formed in 2010, and 355 new homes have been built. Nearly all of them are already occupied.
"It's coming back slowly, but it's been a lot quicker than I thought it would be," said David Guthery, a superintendent for the new group, Rosedale Land Partners. "Everybody loves the fact that it's moving. They're saying, 'Wow -- there's some production going on."'
A similar tale is repeating throughout the Los Angeles region, where hundreds of homes are once again under construction.
And this time around, the demand is for bigger houses, with more bedrooms and square footage, as consumers tap into record-low interest rates to get more bang for their buck.
"The market is absolutely coming back," said Steve Johnson, director of the Southern California region for Metrostudy, a real estate information and consulting firm. "It's not going back to where it was overnight, but you're going to see a 15 (percent) to 20 percent increase in home starts this year over 2012."
Steve Ruffner, president of the Southern California region for KB Home, said he's feeling good about Southern California's housing market.
"Demand is good and buyers are coming out," he said. "We've seen a lot people who are disenfranchised by the lack of inventory, but it's kind of an exciting time.
Ruffner's enthusiasm is echoed in the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index, which was released last month.
The report showed that confidence among U.S. homebuilders inched up in December to the highest level in more than 6 1/2 years.
Ruffner noted that many buyers are now looking for bigger homes.
"People are realizing that interest rates are at record lows, so that allows them to get more house for their money and still have a mortgage that is very affordable," he said.
KB Home's average home, he said, has increased in square footage by nearly 13 percent since the third quarter of 2010, jumping from 1,875 square feet to 2,063 square feet.
In north Los Angeles County the increase has been even bigger, going from an average of 1,913 square feet in 2010 to 2,397 square feet in 2011. That represents a 25 percent increase -- or 484 additional square feet.
Johnson said buyers could be leaning toward bigger homes for a number of reasons.
"The price of money is so cheap that some people are just opting for bigger square footage," he said. "It gives them the rationale to go for a fancier kitchen with more elbow room or maybe a bigger garage."
Others, he said, may need a bigger home because they have elderly parents living with them or adult children who have moved back home because of the tough economy.
"Lennar has seen great success with their home- within-a-home product," he said. "It's designed for parents to live with you, but it still offers them a degree of privacy with a separate entrance and a kitchenette -- almost like a little apartment."
Andres Rios, who moved into his 2,000-square-foot home in Rosedale's Greenbriar neighborhood six months ago, is happy to see construction occurring.
"I'm happy because it means more people," he said. "It's a good sign for the economy."
Activity is also picking up in the Inland Empire.
Brookfield Homes is building Edenglen, a master-planned community in Ontario that will include more than 580 new homes. They'll be priced starting in the low $300,000s, with models ranging from 1,710 square feet to 2,054 square feet.
Further south, Standard Pacific Homes is active in the South Bay. The company's gated Harbor Highlands development in San Pedro will feature 133 new single-family homes at full buildout. The homes range from $512,900 for 1,790 square feet, to $596,631 for 1,936 square feet.
KB Home also has a variety of projects under way in Santa Clarita, including Charleston at River Village, Echo Pointe at Plum Canyon, Echo Ridge at Plum Canyon and Ridgeview at Echo Ridge, the latter which was opened in December.
Those homes range from 2,875 to 4,511 square feet. Both Echo Pointe at Plum Canyon and Echo Ridge at Plum Canyon are in close- out with just a few houses left, according to company spokesman Craig LeMessurier.
KB is also working on another 84-lot planned development in Lancaster called Dorado Skies, scheduled to open in winter 2013.
Lennar has three Chino projects under way, including the Madison at College Park (77 homes), Edgewood at College Park (95 homes) and Charleston at College Park (78 homes). The Madison and Edgewood communities opened three weeks ago and the Charleston is in its final development phase, a Lennar associate said. They are priced from the mid $300,000 range to more than $500,000.
Lennar is also building three communities in San Bernardino -- Sage at Rosena Ranch (70 homes), Chaparral at Rosena Ranch (101 homes) and Aster at Rosena Ranch (87 homes).
In Santa Clarita, Lennar has developments ranging from town homes priced in the middle $200,000s to single-family homes listed at $600,000 and more.
One development that still faces a challenge is Newhall Ranch, the Southland's biggest planned community. Developers have yet to break ground on one home, even though the environmental impact report was approved in 1996.
The project, along State Route 126 west of Santa Clarita, is designed to include 20,000 homes as well as business parks, corporate centers, mixed-use elements and 8,500 acres of open space. It's also expected to create 60,000 permanent, full-time jobs, according to Marlee Lauffer, vice president of marketing for Newhall Land Development Inc.
"It's fully approved and we have tentative tract maps for two of the villages," Lauffer said. "But we're in litigation on the tract maps and the environmental permits."
Lauffer said Newhall Land hopes to see the project under way within two years.
All of this activity speaks to a housing market that's regaining its footing. But there's more ground to be covered before the market resembles anything close to pre-recession levels, according to Jeff Lee, president and co-owner of LA Urban Homes. Lee's company is currently building 127 homes in the Rosedale project. But things are not nearly as busy now as they were before the housing market crashed.
"We're also building the Parkside project in Hawthorne with 28 homes and another tract in West L.A. called Highpoint that will have 11 homes," he said. "But during the peak of activity? We had 600 to 700 units under contract."