Friday, April 10, 2015

Industry predicts strong year for local real estate

Source: The Business Journal
Written by George Lurie

  The spotlight shone brightly on the Valley’s real estate market Thursday night at the Fresno County Economic Development Corporation’s 12th Annual Real Estate Forecast event. From multi-family, residential and retail to industrial, commercial, ag and investment, a procession of local experts provided snapshots of current market conditions — and their best crystal ball readings of where the market is headed. The event, which drew about 400 people to the Fresno Convention Center, kicked off with a moving, 20-minute tribute to Charles Tingey, founder of Colliers International and also a founding member of the Fresno County EDC. A pivotal and charasmatic figure for many years in Valley real estate, Tingey died several months ago at the age of 74. Bobby Fena, one of the principals at Colliers and a long time associate of Tingey’s, said, “Chuck was a mentor to all. He was a delight to be around and made a lot of people successful in this industry.” John Brelsford, Tingey’s former partner, said, “Chuck was like a magnet. He could draw people in from all areas of life.” Following the tribute to Tingey, Lee Ann Eager, EDC president and CEO, turned the mic over to Matt Renney and Doug Cords, who served as emcees for the evening. The first expert to take the podium was Robin Kane of Hendricks-Berkadia, introduced as “the maestro of multi-family.” Kane said that in 2014, multi-family sales in the Fresno-Clovis area “almost doubled” those of 2013. Citing a “perfect storm” that includes historically low interest rates and continued growth in so-called “urban centers,” Kane predicted another strong year for the sector in 2015. With home ownership rates for Californians at their lowest levels since 1990 — just above 50 percent — Kane said recent rent increases “have been eating away” at renters’ available equity to purchase a home. Predicting that the apartment industry “will continue to benefit from a dysfunctional housing market,” he also said that stagnant wages and “difficulty arranging financing today” continue to be factors keeping more Valley residents renting rather than owning. At the same time, he added, multi-family construction across the country “has just gone nuts.” He predicted “2015 will be another record-setting year” for the sector. Kane’s short presentation was followed by upbeat speeches by Colleen Wiginton of the Fresno Association of REALTORS, Ethan H. Smith and Brett Visintainer from Newmark Grubb Pearson Commercial, Brett Todd of Colliers International, Stanley Kjar from Pearson Realty and Peter Orlando from Retail California. Keeping with the evening’s “Rock and Roll” theme, all of the evening’s speakers confirmed that real estate fundamentals in the Fresno area continue to improve. “Two years ago, distressed sales represented 50 percent of the market activity,” said Wiginton. “Today, that number is down to just 17 percent. And it continues to fall.” “We’ve officially hit the reset button,” she added. “Compared to other parts of the state, Fresno is still a very affordable place to live.” Wiginton said first-time homebuyers currently comprise 41 percent of the local market and the pace of new home construction in the area should average about 1,800 single-family homes per year for the next decade. “All of the fundamentals are in place for a healthy 2015,” she added. Smith characterized Fresno’s industrial real estate sector as “pretty tight,” with current commercial vacancy rates hovering around 6.7 percent. He said new incentives from Fresno County as well as the cities of Fresno, Clovis, Sanger and Kingsburg would spur additional construction of industrial buildings in those areas. Smith’s prediction for 2015: Vacancy rates will continue to drop. Land prices will rise. And construction of the high-speed rail line will “create uncertainty and opportunity” in the market. Ag broker Kjar began his presentation by noting that farm real estate values hit an all-time high in 2014. “Commodity prices drive the price of farmland,” Kjar said, “and right now, almonds are leading the charge.” Predicting both the drought and a strong dollar could put a damper on growth in 2015, Kjar added, “Farm properties in areas with better water conditions will still be in demand.” Todd said he expects commercial construction to “ramp up” late in 2015 and early 2016. “We are bullish and expect the market to continue to flourish,” he added. Echoing those sentiments, Visintainer said, “more demand than supply” and “prolonged low interest rates” would continue to provide real estate investors with positive returns. “This could be one of the strongest years ever,” he added. The final speaker of the night, Peter Orlando, said the area would only see the opening of two major new shopping centers in 2015 — Campus Pointe near Fresno State and Park Crossing in north Fresno. He said the shopping center industry was “poised for growth” going forward and noted technology was playing an increasingly more important role in retailers’ courtship of consumers. “The success of online retail has forced developers to create higher-quality shopping environments” in order to compete, he said, adding that outside-oriented environments were beginning to replace traditional, enclosed malls. Orlando also predicted “social networks will serve more and more as shopping networks” and that Hispanics and millennials will “continue to heavily influence” retail shopping trends.

 URL to the original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/real-estate/17128-industry-predicts-strong-year-for-local-real-estate 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Monday, March 9, 2015

Sierra Ridge Apartments in Clovis sold for $18.3 million

Source: The Business Journal

 The Sierra Ridge Apartments, a multifamily property in Clovis, has been sold for $18.3 million. Berkadia, a joint venture of Berkshire Hathaway and Leucadia National Corporation, negotiated the deal, which closed on Feb. 24. Berkadia provides investment sales advisory and research services for multifamily and commercial properties. The sale price reflects a per-unit cost of $101,667 — or $120 per square foot. Located at 100 Fowler Ave., Sierra Ridge is a 180-unit property built in 1991 and offers one-, two-, and three-bedroom floor plans. Berkadia’s Senior Vice President Robin C. Kane identified the buyer as a local investor and the seller as Sun Valley Pacific LLC of Tokyo, Japan. “The multifamily market is surging right now in California, which we believe will continue for the remainder of 2015,” Kane said.

 URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/real-estate/16529-sierra-ridge-apartments-in-clovis-sold-for-18-3-million

 For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Homebuilding permits up in Fresno and Visalia

Source: The Fresno Bee
 By BoNhia Lee

 Home building is looking up in the Fresno and Visalia area after a drop in building permits at the end of last year. The number of home building permits issued in the two cities edged up in February while builders kicked off the new year unveiling new communities. Last month, Fresno issued 58 single-family building permits compared with 44 in January, according to the city’s monthly building report. A year ago at the same time only nine permits were issued. In Visalia, builders pulled 47 permits in February compared to 20 the month before. A year ago, 26 permits were issued for the construction of new homes. So far this year, Benchmark Communities, Granville Homes, San Joaquin Valley Homes, and Wathen Castanos Homes have all opened new neighborhoods with plans for at least 388 new houses in the central San Joaquin Valley.

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2015/03/03/4406952_homebuilding-permits-up-in-fresno.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Report: Valley home prices rise more than national average in January

Source: The Business Journal

Home prices in Fresno, including distressed sales, increased by 6.9 percent in January 2015 compared to January 2014, according to a report released today by CoreLogic. On a month-over-month basis, Fresno home prices, excluding distressed sales, increased by 0.9 percent in January compared with December 2014. In Madera, home prices, including distressed sales, rose by 9.5 percent in January 2015 compared to January 2014. Excluding distressed sales, the year-over-year increase in Madera was 10.6 percent according to the report. On a month-over-month basis, Madera home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 0.2 percent in January 2015. In the Visalia-Porterville area, home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 3.1 percent in January 2015 compared to January 2014. On a month-over-month basis, Tulare County home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 0.6 percent in January 2015. In the Hanford-Corcoran area, home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 6.8 percent in January 2015 compared to January 2014. On a month-over-month basis, Kings County home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 1.6 percent in January 2015. The report is the latest evidence that the Central Valley is outpacing many other parts of the county in terms of home sales price appreciation. According to the report, average U.S. home prices nationwide rose by 5.7 percent in January compared with January 2014. “House price appreciation has generally been stronger in the western half of the nation and weakest in the mid-Atlantic and northeast states,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic. “In part, these trends reflect the strength of regional economies.” Anand Nallathambi, CoreLogic’s president and CEO, predicts home prices “will continue to rise throughout the year and into 2016. A dearth of supply in many parts of the country is a big factor driving up prices,” he added.

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/real-estate/16447-report-valley-home-prices-rise-more-than-national-average-in-january 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Realtors: Distressed home sales continue year-over-year drop

Source: The Business Journal

While the state average of distressed home sales increased in the month of January, figures for the Central Valley continued to fluctuate, according to the California Association of Realtors. The number of distressed homes sold in Fresno County held steady at 19 percent last month, the same as December 2014 and down from the 26 percent reported in January 2014. Kings County saw a decrease in the number of underwater homes, reporting 25 percent in January compared to 26 percent in December. While the month-to-month decrease was minor, the figure is way down from the 45 percent reported this time last year. Madera County continued to improve, with distressed homes accounting for 12 percent of sales during the month of January. The figure represents a steady improvement from the 13 and 14 percent reported in December and January of 2014, respectively. Tulare County saw a jump in the number of distressed homes sold last month, with underwater homes accounting for 22 percent of total sales, compared to 16 percent the month prior and 20 percent during the same time last year. Statewide, distressed homes accounted for 12 percent of total sales in January, up slightly from the 10 percent reported in December 2014, but down from 16 percent in January 2014.

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/real-estate/16338-realtors-distressed-home-sales-continue-year-over-year-drop 

 For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Developer: Campus Pointe theater should debut in March

Source: The Business Journal
Written by George Lurie

The movie theater that will anchor The Square at Campus Pointe could be open for business later next month. “From what I know now, the theater is looking for a late March opening,” said Tracy Kashian of Lance-Kashian & Co., which is partnering with Fresno State to develop the Campus Pointe project located just east of the Save Mart Center near the intersection of Shaw Avenue and Highway 168. “The theater will open first and then the tenants will follow behind,” Kashian said. “We’re excited. Things are getting fairly close.” Featuring an ambitious “Town Center” design, in addition to the theater, Campus Pointe will include 250,000 square feet of retail space and restaurants, 20,000 square feet of office space and more than 600 residential units. There are also plans to add a future Hyatt Place hotel and meeting center. The Heritage Theater, a 2,700-seat cinema complex, is built on land owned by Fresno State and Kashian said theater operators will pay rent directly to the university. “Right now, all of the other [retail] tenants are being handed vanilla shells because we just got our permits,” Kashian said. Exactly when stores will open at Campus Pointe, she added, depends “on how fast the tenants’ contractors work. At this point, I’m not sure which one of our tenants will be the first to open.”

 URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/retail/16166-developer-campus-pointe-theater-should-debut-in-march

 For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Granville Homes commits $100K to ‘Talking is Teaching’ campaign

Source: The Business Journal

 Granville Homes will contribute $100,000 to a new campaign launched this month to boost the early brain development and language skills of young children in Fresno. The campaign, titled “Talking is Teaching: Talk Read, Sing,” is a community-wide effort targeted at area children ranging in age from infants up to 5-year-olds. The program is part of a promotion called “Too Small to Fail,” a joint initiative of Next Generation and the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. “The best return on investment is the investment we make in our kids,” said Kendra Rogers, Granville’s director of community investment. The campaign has also drawn the support of local business and community leaders including Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Jim Yovino, Fowler Unified School District Superintendent Eric Cederquist and Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp. Organizers said the program will aim to close the so-called “word gap,” a difference of about 30 million more words that children in high-income families hear from parents and caregivers by their fourth birthday compared to children in low-income families. The fewer words children hear and learn, campaign organizers said, the more likely they are to experience an achievement gap, which persists through kindergarten and has a life-long impact on health and well-being. The project consists of a community-wide, multi-media campaign that highlights for parents and caregivers simple actions that can be done every day – like describing objects seen during a bus ride, asking questions, singing songs, reading aloud, or telling stories – actions that can significantly improve a baby’s ability to build vocabulary and develop their brains, according to early education experts. Campaign messages will appear on billboards, bus ads and in paid media spots. The donation from Granville Homes will serve as initial funding for the paid media campaign. Local organizations, churches, libraries and health care providers will help to distribute campaign materials. “I have often said that good public policy is the best philanthropy,” Granville President Darius Assemi said. “I hope our elected officials and policymakers will lead in these efforts, and join us as we talk, read and sing to our children. This will be a game changer for Fresno County.”

 URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/construction/15882-granville-homes-commits-100k-to-talking-is-teaching-campaign 

 For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Monday, January 26, 2015

Realtors: Distressed home sales fell in December

Source: The Business Journal

The California Association of Realtors (CAR) is reporting that distressed home sales in the Central Valley decreased last month compared to December 2013. In Fresno County, distressed homes accounted for 19 percent of total single-family home sales in December, down from the 24 percent reported in December 2013. Month-over-month there was a slight increase, however, as distressed sales accounted for 16 percent of total sales in November 2014. Year-over-year distressed home sales in Kings County also dipped, with CAR reporting 26 percent in December 2014 compared to 28 percent the previous year. Distressed sales increased month-over-month, with only 17 percent reported in November 2014. Both Tulare and Madera County saw year-over-year and month-over-month decreases for distressed home sales, according to CAR. Madera County distressed home sales represented 13 percent of total sales last month compared to 14 percent in November 2014 and 20 percent in December 2013. Distressed home sales comprised 16 percent of total sales in Tulare County in December, compared to 17 percent the previous month and 26 percent in December 2013. Statewide, the number of distressed sales recorded by CAR in December, 10.2 percent, was down from a year ago, when the share was 15.6 percent.

 URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/real-estate/15804-realtors-distressed-home-sales-fell-in-december 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Monday, January 5, 2015

Most expensive home of '14: $2.38M in Fresno

Source: The Business Journal
 Written by Hannah Esqueda

 The Central Valley's luxury home market continues to be supported by local buyers rather than out-of-town relocations, meaning most buyers have worked their way up to $1 million-plus homes. Local business owners and farmers are among the most common buyers, said Paula Conner, an agent with London Properties who has handled several $1 million-plus home sales between October 2013 and September 2014. “The farming community has been really good this year,” she said. While several homes included in The Business Journal's list of Most Expensive Home Sales (published Dec. 26, 2014) were purchased for more than $1.5 million, the top honor went to a home in Northwest Fresno that sold for $2.38 million in February. Located at 7296 N. Gentry Ave., the 7,200-square-foot home is in one of the most popular areas of the Central Valley's luxury home market, said Guarantee Real Estate agent Rama Ambati. “It sits on almost two acres with beautiful views of the San Joaquin Golf Course, river and mountains,” she said. Ambati acted as both the selling and listing agent on the property and said such views are extremely desirable for luxury homebuyers and can help raise the price of even smaller homes. Built in 1989, the home has since been completely remodeled and now features four bedrooms, six bathrooms, custom limestone and walnut floors, onyx counters, a wine cellar, heated infinity edge pool, four-car garage and outdoor kitchen complete with a pizza oven. A horse corral and run area lay on one acre of the property. The home was paid for in cash, which is fairly common for luxury homes in the market according to both Ambati and Conner. However, with interest rates remaining low on home loans, both agents said loan purchases may grow more common in 2015. Ambati said it is still rare for properties to sell above the $2 million mark in the Central Valley, but that she expects the price will eventually become the norm for area luxury homes. This is evidenced by the fact that each of the top five most expensive home sales included in The Business Journal's list was in excess of $1.9 million. But at least year-over-year, the price of the top house came down a bit. The most expensive home of 2013 was sold in Clovis for $2.8 million. In 2012, the most expensive home was the only property on the list to even break the $2 million mark. Ambati said the home on 7296 N. Gentry Ave. was on the market for more than two years before being sold, a fact she attributes to the original asking price of $3 million. However, the property sold within six week of her acting as agent. “Once we lowered the price, it sold very quickly,” Ambati said. The No. 2 property on the list sold for $1.93 million and is located at 12431 N. Friant Rd. in Fresno. It featured 8,826 square feet of space with six bedrooms and five bathrooms on a 9-acre lot. Joe Sciarrone of London Properties was the listing and selling agent. While it can be challenging to advertise Fresno and the Central Valley as a luxury market, Ambati said most buyers are local and already know what they're looking for in a property. Homebuyers typically go for houses near a golf course or river view in the northern parts of town, she said. High-end amenities like quality construction and design, wine cellars, home theaters, spacious entertainment areas and elaborate outdoor kitchens are also popular features that help draw clients to particular homes, Ambati said. Large properties and acreage also help sell homes on the luxury market since many buyers are looking to expand their personal space, Conner said, noting that one of the homes she sold this past year included a 10-car garage. “That's a bit unusual,” she admitted. One of the most expensive sales Conner handled came in September when she sold a five bedroom, eight bathroom, 11,775-square-foot home with a more moderate three-car garage. Located at 2725 W. Lake Van Ness Circle in Fresno, the 28,800-square-foot property stretches across two lots. Conner was the listing agent while Munish Ghai acted as the selling agent for the home, which came in at No. 9 on this year’s list. “In the foyer you feel like you have arrived in a palace, grand columns lead past the private office and into the pond room with views of the koi ponds,” reads the property description. “Continuing through the dual staircases you enter the great room with its panoramic view of the lake, cathedral ceilings and fabulous built-ins.” The home also boasts a spacious kitchen, full-sized bar and lounge area, his and her dressing rooms, elevator, media room and billiard room. While the home was short of the $2 million mark — the property sold for $1.6 million — both Conner and Ambati said they predict the luxury market will see more action north of that figure in 2015. “It used to be that when a home sold for more than $1 million in Fresno it was a big deal, but now I think that figure is $2 million and we are starting to see more of those sales. Soon that threshold will be even higher” Ambati said. “The recession had put a damper on the luxury home market, but we are finally out of it.”

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/real-estate/15454-most-expensive-home-of-14-2-38m-in-fresno 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Valley construction sees bright spots in 2014

Source: The Business Journal
Written by Ben Keller, Business Journal staff writer

Despite an overall drop in permit values, the Central Valley's construction industry saw marked improvement in 2014, especially in some key commercial sectors. Throughout Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties, 15,012 construction permits were issued to builders in the year, according to a weekly report by Construction Monitor. That's up 30.2 percent from 2013 when 11,527 permits were issued. Of the permits awarded in the year, 13,429 were for residential construction compared to 9,924 the year before. Commercial permits, on the other hand, fell slightly from 1,604 in 2013 to 1,583 this year. Among those, offices, banks and professional buildings went from 72 to 57 permits with total value going from $58.12 million to $52.35 million Permits for industrial, manufacturing buildings and warehouses went from 61 to 39 with construction values dropping from $66.07 million to $48.95 million, while retail, warehouses and dining projects fell from 52 permits to 35 matched by construction values falling from $60.33 million to $24.06 million. Alternative commercial energy projects had a good year, however, with 128 permits trumping 2013's 78 and construction values soaring from $110.92 million last year to $136.25 million this year. Permits for commercial remodels and additions fell from 825 to 815 but construction values increased from $133.88 million to $166.08 million. The value of all construction permits stood at $1.39 billion in 2014, down 4.8 percent from $1.46 billion last year. Residential construction values alone fell 12.7 percent, going from $960.54 million to $838.47 million. However, the value of commercial construction permits went from $502.79 million to $554.63 million for a 10.3-percent jump. Lennar Fresno topped the list of home builders working in the Central Valley in 2014 with 359 permits awarded in the year at a total value of $95.48 million. The company was followed by Woodside Homes with 199 permits totaling $50.76 million, Wilson Homes with 184 permits of $42.55 million, Wathen Homes with 195 permits of $41.36 million and Bonadelle Homes with 117 permits of $33.72 million. Solar installer First Solar Electric was the largest builder of commercial projects in the Valley with eight permits valued at $78.11 million followed by Roebbelen with one permit of $32.18 million, Target Constructors with 25 permits of $17.96 million, City of Fresno with 21 permits of $17.05 million and Quiring General with five permits of $16.42 million.

URL to original article: http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/construction/15401-valley-construction-sees-bright-spots-in-2014 

For further information on Fresno Real Estate check: http://www.londonproperties.com