Fresno’s real estate market hit some highs in 2015 with record commercial retail sales, new construction in the industrial sector and a fourth straight year of rising home prices.
But the big question is: Will it last, or will it lead to another bubble?
The area’s residential, commercial and agricultural real estate experts at the 13th annual Fresno Real Estate Forecast, hosted Thursday evening by the Economic Development Corporation, in downtown Fresno, say this year is poised to be another healthy one, but they warn that activity could slow down.
“Take advantage of opportunity before the market isn’t favorable,” said Tony Cortopassi, senior associate at Cushman & Wakefield/Pacific, a commercial brokerage firm in Fresno.
The office market remained stable last year with vacancy at 10.6 percent, Cortopassi said. Financing is now available for businesses that want to buy and office land is starting to sell again. With the new health care coverage law, demand is growing in the medical field for office space, and a recovering housing market has brought in mortgage and title companies looking for space, he said.
The median price of a single-family home increased 8 percent last year to $224,000 from $206,750 in 2014, said Patrick Prince, president of the Fresno Association of Realtors. More mid- to higher-priced homes are being listed for sale, he said.
Prince expects interest rates to remain stable, more inventory of homes to hit the market and home prices to continue climbing but at a slower rate.
Commercial retail transactions hit a high note last year. Four major sales of shopping centers accounted for more than half of last year’s sales volume, said Brett Visintainer, senior vice president at Newmark Grubb Pearson Commercial.
▪ Fig Garden Village, sold for $106 million to a New York investor, was the area’s largest transaction ever, Visintainer said.
▪ Marketplace at El Paseo shopping center in northwest Fresno sold for $70 million to an investor from Illinois.
▪ Via Montana Shopping Center in northeast Fresno sold for $31 million to a private investor in Fresno.
▪ RiverView Shopping Center in northeast Fresno sold for $26.6 million to a private investor in Sacramento.
For sellers, “it’s a great time to evaluate properties,” Visintainer said. “There’s a high demand, low inventory.” But he threw in a word of caution: “It’s really hard to think this can continue.”
On the leasing and development side of retail there is some news. The Fancher Creek retail development in southeast Fresno by Lance-Kashian & Co. is expected to break ground this year, said Nick Rendino, vice president of retail services for Colliers International.
The developer already is in the middle of building the much-anticipated Dave & Buster’s restaurant-bar-arcade just off Highway 41 and Friant Road. The restaurant is anticipated to open this summer.