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REAL ESTATE : Billboard Is Behind the Home Prices in Tony Coto de Caza

Compiled by John O'Dell, Times staff writer

Signs of the times:

A Costa Mesa Freeway billboard for Coto de Caza, an exclusive gated community just east of Rancho Santa Margarita, says that new home prices in the development start at $300,000. But a Coto de Caza billboard located a few miles farther north on the same freeway tells passing motorists that housing prices start at $275,000.

A spokeswoman for Coto de Caza said $275,000 is the current low price in the community. The billboard quoting a $300,000 starting price is an older one that hasn’t yet been updated.

Lest it appear that Coto is getting plebeian, both billboards point out that prices for developer-built homes (that’s fancy talk for tract homes) in the community run all the way up to $1 million. Custom-built residences, of course, can cost considerably more.

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