Fresno-area sees decline in new home construction

Fresno had the eighth sharpest decline in new residential building permits in midsize U.S. cities.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno has seen a sharp decline in the number of new homes being built and recently ranked eighth in midsize cities to show a decrease in construction in the U.S.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected construction across the country.

U.S. Census Bureau shows nationwide there's been a 20% decline in new housing construction. Fresno had the eighth sharpest decline in new residential building permits in midsize U.S. cities.

"It was expected with the COVID issue. Nobody was able to tour the homes," said Mike Prandini, president of the Building Industry Association of Fresno and Madera counties.

Valley building experts anticipated a decline.

COVID-19, unemployment and the economy have led to the change.

Workers have also had to make changes while on job sites for social distancing.

Their data shows the Fresno area authorized 137 building permits for new residential units in April, 51% less than last year.

The city of Fresno says 30 single-family home permits were approved versus 89 the year before.

"There are normal cycles. We expected to slow down sometime late this year or next year, but when everything came to a halt that changes everything," Prandini said.

Over in Madera County, new homes are going up in new developments like Tesoro Viejo.

"Initially, when the pandemic hit, we had a dip in sales. And then we were presently surprised to see an uptick and strong sales for all of our homes," said Karen McCaffrey with Tesoro Viejo.

They say low-interest rates are incentivizing some to buy.

At the national level, both new building permits and housing starts decreased to their lowest levels in half a decade.

This decline in residential construction has particularly struck the northeast area of the United States. Homebuilders say they've seen a lot of trends, and they're optimistic about the future.
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