Merced is California's fastest growing county

Thursday, May 10, 2018
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More people are moving into Merced County and the housing market is have trouble keeping up with the growth.

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- More people are moving into Merced County and the housing market is having trouble keeping up with the growth.

The California Department of Finance reported that the county is the fastest growing in the state. The report showed that more than 4,000 people moved into Merced County last year.

LINK: California Department of Finance report

"The vacancy rate is below 1%. It's extremely low," Coldwell Banker Gonella sales manager Andy Krotik said.

Krotik said they only have about a dozen rentals available. If a house is at a good price, it's quickly bought off the market.

"A normal market has about six months' supply of homes. We have 1.6 so prices are going up. They've gone up 20 percent in the last 2 years," Krotik said.

The state department shows the county saw a 1.8% population increase since the start of 2017.

Krotik says a big part of it has to do with the growth of UC Merced. About 1000 apartment units are being built in the city of Merced. County officials are working to accommodate the influx of both people and businesses.

"We have a lot of projects going on right now. One example being the Atwater Merced Expressway," Merced County Spokesperson Mike North said.

Another factor is affordability. Los Banos saw the most people moving in with more than 900 new residents. Real estate agents claim most of them are from the Bay Area.

"It's pushed them out of the market over there. They can't afford unless they want to stay in a little apartment," Blossom Valley Realty's Diane Telles said.

She said they don't have any rentals available, and more people are selling their homes

"A lot of tenants are finding themselves. They're being misplaced because landlords decided they're going to go ahead and put their homes on the market in order to cash out," Telles said.

Krotik said a strong market it's a good problem to have, but low vacancy will remain a problem until more homes are built to meet the needs of a growing county.