Visalia Times-Delta: " Construction Permits Up, Housing Construction Active"

Construction permits for the county’s three largest agencies are on the upswing over the last six months.

Visalia and Tulare County are also reporting the best fiscal year figures in years. In Tulare, single-family home permits this year are ahead of last year, while 2016 commercial activity has already eclipsed 2015 totals and is the highest total over the last five years.

“It’s a successful period and we are moving along,” said Jeff Killion, Tulare Planning Commission chairman.

For the county, Resource Management Assistant Director Michael Washam said the 2015-2016 fiscal year numbers are nearly 1,000 more than the previous year.

For the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the county issued 4,617 construction permits, a 27 percent increase from the previous year. Washam said the value of the permits is $324 million.

Washam said permits for solar farms, expansion of agriculture-related businesses, dairies, packing houses and cold storage helped the surge.

The county also issued 116 single-family home permits and eight for multi-family development.

Washam said the county concentrates on business development.

In Visalia, the 497 permits for single-family homes, 40 for multi-family and the 56 for commercial development during the 2015-2016 fiscal year are the highest totals in the last eight years.

Housing update

The upswing is visible with the different housing construction projects in Visalia and Tulare.

San Joaquin Valley Homes has five projects in the Central Valley –– three in Tulare County. In Tulare, San Joaquin Valley Homes has a 53-home project at Mooney Boulevard and Seminole Avenue. A master plan calls for building 350 homes in the area.

There is an additional housing project just south of the San Joaquin Valley Homes site and one more at Mooney and Prosperity Avenue.

Multiple sites across northwest Visalia have taken shape and homes are nearly complete in many subdivisions from Shirk Road to County Center.

In Addition, San Joaquin Valley Homes has an 84-home project in Dinuba.

Visalia Administrative Analyst Pamela Sing said San Joaquin Valley homes has been one of the most active companies in the area.

Joe Leal, San Joaquin Valley Homes co-founder, said the company is coming up on its third anniversary and has been busy.

“We have had good pace of production,” he said.

Leal said there are plans to give special gifts to the customer who closes on the company’s 500th home.

Developers take several factors into consideration when deciding on a development, Leal said. Location, of course, is atop the list and other factors are local transportation, schools, shopping and parks.

An additional consideration is the local job market, Leal said.

“People like to work in the town they live in,” he said.

San Joaquin Valley Homes chose locations based on data analysis. In Tulare, the homes range from 1,574 to 2,314 square feet and are priced starting in the low $200,000.

“We are confident the size and price of those should do very well,” he said.

At the northwest corner of Prosperity and Mooney, D.R. Horton is developing a 47-home project called Vista Terraza.

The homes range from 1,695 square feet to about 2,808. The models will feature two single-story plans and is scheduled to open in September, according to the website.

Killion said Tulare planners also reviewed projects for home remodels and some business expansions. He also said it’s hard to predict if the current market will continue.

“It’s a strange year,” he said. “We don’t know what will happen with the Presidential Election. It will have an effect.”

As for San Joaquin Valley Homes, Leal said the company plans to remain active in the housing market.

“We are in it for the long haul,” he said. “We are a local company. We run into our customers here. If somebody has a problem, they can walk in here and I can take the meeting. We will jump on that right away. We are trying to be the best company.”