Report: Rental market booming in Visalia

January 6, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A South Valley city has landed on a top-ten list that could attract investors around the country. Visalia has become a top housing rental market.

Take a drive around a neighborhood in Visalia and you're bound to find houses up for rent. A new list about real estate investment shows buying a home to rent out in the South Valley city will likely pay off.

According to Local Market Monitor and Homevestors of America, Visalia ranks 6th in the country for best places to buy a rental property. It follows the top 5 - Vallejo, Detroit, Modesto, Stockton, and Las Vegas.

Visalia realtor Sam Sciacca, who owns more than 40 rental properties in town, says even though Visalia was once flooded with foreclosures, people who lost their homes in Visalia still want to live there. "They cant buy a house -- their credit doesn't allow them to do that -- so they're renting. So the investors are reaping the benefits of those foreclosures because those buyers that are typically a buyer, no longer can buy -- they have to rent."

Sciacca says Visalia has attracted more commercial retailers, like Bevmo and Walmart, making it a more desirable place to live.

City manager Steve Salomon says Visalia also has a lower unemployment rate than other parts of the county and housing prices are slowly starting to creep back up. "The price is good and because the alternatives for them to invest in are probably not that great. You have the stock market which is generally uncertain, CD rates aren't that good."

Locals hope this latest ranking encourages even more investment in the city. "The City of Visalia should be jumping for joy with those kinds of numbers. If you're looking at other areas and locations and we place number 6 that's pretty good for a population of 125,000 people," said Sciacca.