San Joaquin Valley Homes boosts housing construction in the South Valley

FRESNO, Calif.

When the economy took a hit several years ago a Visalia housing development was left vacant. Now, city officials say numbers have turned around and there is one new housing developer that's come to town, helping spur new growth.

Fairly new homes surround a vacant field at the corner of Demaree and Ferguson in Visalia. Tumbleweeds and dry grass have made a home in the area ever since the recession pushed its developer to pack up and leave. Just a few years later, a brand new developer called San Joaquin Valley Homes is taking over the spot.

"We're very excited we have not been building as much in the last three or four years and I got to tell you I've really missed it," Joe Leal San from Joaquin Valley Homes said.

San Joaquin Valley Homes is building its 13 to 23 hundred square foot model homes in Tulare and Hanford. They are marketing towards new home buyers. The people behind the new development company are Valley natives who have worked for large home builders in the area.

"It's like they say you should find something you like to do and then you don't work again the rest of your life, we do enjoy what we do," Leal said.

Leal says the economy's uptick isn't just good for their business, but for the subcontractors and builders who are finally seeing work pick back up. Visalia City Manager Steve Salomon says building permits have been on the rise since March. This year the city has had more new home building permits issued than they did during last year, and three years prior.

"We've filed 700,000 square feet of vacant retail space along Mooney Blvd. since 2009 that represents thousands of jobs," Salmon said.

Salomon says it is those jobs that have spurred growth in the building market. And while the city's numbers aren't back to normal yet, they are getting there.

"All of the city's revenues are up our property tax revenues are up our sales tax revenues are up our business license tax is up," Salmon said.

San Joaquin Valley Homes hopes to start building their model homes by the end of the year and start selling new homes by February 2014.

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