Fresno, Spring in its Step?

This winter, Fresno homebuyer traffic is the best we’ve seen in 2+ years! Could it be due to Fresno’s declining unemployment rate?  Or, perhaps it’s the dry warm weather this season?  Either way, homebuilders active in the Fresno marketplace right now are welcoming the new interest from homebuyers with open arms as the spring selling season begins full bloom.

Median new home base prices are hovering around $110 per square foot, which is $60 per square less than peak values in 2006.

News You Can Use from the Fresno/Clovis Submarket…

Valley Builders Optimistic In Spite Of Housing Market: Despite a sea of foreclosures and bargain-priced houses for sale across the central San Joaquin Valley, homebuilders are still finding a reason to raise the walls and roofs on new homes… MORE

More on the Activity in Fresno’s New Home Market:  New home construction seems to be on an upswing in neighborhoods across the Valley. And builders are optimistic that the market is starting to turn. (This week’s) story in The Bee tells you what some Fresno homebuilders have done to get through the downturn and who is buying new, but it doesn’t cover everyone.

Here’s a look at what other builders in town have done to attract buyers along with more from homebuyers that we couldn’t squeeze into the final story… READ ON

Clovis City Council Oks Map Laying Out City’s Future:  A plan that lays out the future neighborhoods of Clovis was approved Monday (2/13) night by the City Council, despite fears from some rural residents that it won’t adequately protect their land from urban intrusion. …Rural residents who live on large lots east of the city say a proposed open-space buffer of 100 feet is not wide enough to shield their homes from the housing tracts of smaller-lot homes that would be allowed under the new general plan… READ ON or, WATCH VIDEO via KFSN.

California’s High-Speed Rail Project Continues despite Criticism: California’s high-speed rail project is already projected to take longer and be more costly than originally projected, but the obstacles facing it are not yet over. Governor Jerry Brown is trying to push the project through the Legislature this year, though… MORE

Source: Mark Utman, Marketing Consultant, (559) 449-4500

Lowered Development Fees and More Jobs Headed to the Northern Central Valley

Earlier this year, the City of Modesto lowered many of its development fees, including the one-time charges that pay for roads and other public facilities.  The City is lowering capital facility fees by 22% to 45% for residential and commercial projects. Read article: Modesto Bee

ECONOMIC IMPACT:  The University of California, Merced began initial operations in July 2000 and has since contributed approximately $650 million to the San Joaquin Valley economy.  With over 5,000 students currently enrolled, the City of Merced is becoming a hot spot for student housing development, and is anticipating more jobs in the horizon. http://ucmercednews.blogspot.com/2011/09/university-of-california-merced-has.html

Many residents of the Central Valley are looking forward to progress with construction of the proposed high-speed rail, which was approved in 2008.  This mega project is surrounded by loads of controversy, but is estimated to bring approximately new 83,000 jobs to the Central Valley. Read article: Central Valley Business Journal

EMPLOYMENT FACTOR:   As is the case in most homebuilding sub-markets across the country, homebuilders and developers in the Central Valley are eagerly awaiting decreased unemployment and increased consumer confidence, in hopes of jump starting new home sales.

California’s unemployment rate increased to 12.1% in August. However, with the summer growing season in full swing and harvesting of some crops underway, the jobless rates in the Central Valley dipped a bit in August.  Read article: Central Valley Business Times

Here are the August 2011 Central Valley unemployment rates, followed by those from July 2011, which are in parentheses. All are estimates: (Source: Central Valley Business Times)

  • Fresno County, 15.8%; (16.7%)
  • Kern County, 14.4%; (15.5%)
  • Kings County, 15.3%; (16.1%)
  • Madera County, 14.4%; (15.4%)
  • Merced County, 17.5%; (18.7%)
  • San Joaquin County, 16.1%; (17.5%)
  • Stanislaus County, 16.0%; (17.5%)
  • Tulare County, 15.7%; (16.6%)

Source: RJ Radler, Senior Marketing Consultant, (916) 784-3329 x12

Fresno?… Fres-YES! Permits, Pigskins & Progress

  • New home sales in Fresno and Madera Counties are still slumping www.ksee24.com
  • City of Fresno & City of Clovis together have 2,200 vacant finished lots.
  • Central San Joaquin Valley Single Family Permits pulled YTD = about 760
  • Foreclosures are down – www.thebusinessjournal.com
  • Fresno County unemployment is still hovering around 17%
  • One public homebuilder made the most notable lot purchase in 2011 – $85,000 per finished lot in a highly desirable area of Clovis
  • This month, the City of Sanger (15 minutes west of Fresno) eliminates development fees for new home construction. www.ksee24.com
  • 3Q 2011 - Land Advisors sold 17 acres in Clovis and 112 partially improved lots in Fresno.  Both were bank REO transactions.
  • Although many REOs sold to investors in 2011, there are still opportunities for investors to buy distressed lots/land.
  • Earlier this year Bonadelle Neighborhoods broke ground on the Brighton Master Plan. The first neighborhood will have 161 lots.  First home closing is scheduled around Thanksgiving. 
  • This summer Wilson Homes began construction on Herndon Avenue, building their new plan called “elev8ions” elev8ions.com
  • Last Saturday Fresno State Bulldogs traveled to Cal Berkeley… unfortunately the “Dogs” lost 36-21.  Next game is this Saturday at Nebraska.

Source: Mark Utman, Marketing Consultant (559) 449-4500 x127