The hot markets that drove U.S. housing in recent years (we’re looking at you, coastal tech hubs) will give way in 2019 to a new group of affordable, young, opportunity-filled, desirable – and largely inland – cities primed to drive growth in the years to come.
Of the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, Trulia identified 10 that we think are poised for takeoff, based on the following five key metrics:
Job growth over the past year, as a measure of a robust economy.
Vacancy rates, as an indicator that housing supply does not exceed demand.
Good starter-home affordability, as a signal that first-time home buyers stand a chance at buying a home.
More inbound than outbound home searches on Trulia, as a gauge that more people are interested in that market than those looking to leave.
A large share of the adult population under the age of 35, which represents more potential first-time buyers.
These are the markets to watch. So long Silicon Valley, and hello Heartland:
Trulia’s Top 10 Housing Markets to Watch in 2019
Y-o-Y Job Growth (Rank)
Vacancy Rate (Rank)
Share of Income Needed
to Afford Median Priced Starter Home (Rank)
Ratio of Inbound-to-Outbound Home Searches on Trulia (Rank)
Share of Population Under 35 (Rank)
Colorado Springs, Colo.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
El Paso, Texas
Oklahoma City, Okla.
Note: Rankings from among the 100 largest metros.
Strong employment growth and a large share of young residents helped put Colorado Springs, Colo. at the top of the list of markets to watch (the area ranked in the top 10 of the largest 100 metros for both metrics). After topping last year’s list, Grand Rapids, Mich., came in second this year, with employment growth and low vacancy rates contributing to its strong performance. Jacksonville, Fla., is third due in large part to its strong inbound-to-outbound search ratio. Two Central California markets – Bakersfield and Fresno, the lowest-priced California housing markets among the largest 100 metros – also made the list this year.
Keen-eyed readers will notice a few things in common amongst the 2019 stars on this list. It does include a couple well-known growth areas including Phoenix, Ariz., and Austin, Texas. But it also highlights markets relatively close to more-expensive metros, but far enough away to offer their own attractions and opportunities without many of the mounting affordability concerns that mark those marquee names. Think Colorado Springs instead of Denver, and Bakersfield and Fresno instead of Los Angeles and the Bay Area.
We also identified the hottest neighborhoods in these markets, based on both local price appreciation and how quickly homes are flying off the market.
Note: Rankings for housing markets to watch from among the 100 largest metros.
While there will certainly be local bright spots like the ones we’ve identified, in general we expect 2019 to be a year of moderation and continued transition in the U.S. housing market. After several years of breakneck appreciation following the end of the housing recession, the latter half of 2018 may have marked a turning point and the beginning of a return to more normalcy and balance in the market. Next year will continue to bring more sanity to the market for home buyers frustrated by years of stiff competition and chronically low inventory. But affordability concerns will still plague the market, especially as mortgage rates rise, putting buyers in a wait-and-see mode. Sellers will also respond to changes, potentially thinking twice before listing in an environment that may not be as lucrative as it was in recent years and further slowing buying and selling activity.
For more on Trulia’s outlook on housing next year, check out our predictions for 2019 here.
To calculate the markets-to-watch metrics, we used a number of data sources:
Employment growth is measured as the percentage increase in employment between September 2017 and September 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Local Area Unemployment Statistics program.
Residential vacancy rates (October 2018) are reported by the U.S. Postal Service’s Delivery Statistics and retrieved through Moody’s Data Buffet.
Starter home affordability is determined using the median listing price of starter homes on Trulia in the third quarter of 2018. Household incomes are derived from 2016 American Community Survey microdata, adjusted to the current period using the Employment Cost Index.
The ratio of inbound-to-outbound searches on Trulia is calculated using site traffic from October 2017 to the present.
The share of population under 35 comes from U.S. Census Bureau estimates as of July 2017, released in June 2018.
The final score is tabulated by averaging the rank of these five metrics.
The “hot hoods index” is calculated by ranking neighborhoods within metros by:
Year-over-year change in home values (faster price appreciation indicates a hotter market)
Median days on market (fewer days on market indicates a hotter market)
The change in days on market since last year (where bigger drops in days on market indicate a hotter market).
A neighborhood’s “hotness” is based on the sum of these ranks. Neighborhood-level days on market metrics are calculated using data for the 12 months ending September 2018. Neighborhood-level home values are based on the month of September 2018.
Inside an office space at Bitwise’s The Hive in Downtown Fresno, deals and orders are being made globally.
“I think Fresno it’s not just Fresno anymore, we’re global. I hope people realize that and go after more global clients and do more international business,” said Jennifer Kim, Blockheads Development & Marketing Founder.
Blockheads Development and Marketing, which specializes in blockchain consulting, solutions and marketing to help small businesses.
Kim and the company relocated from Chicago more than a year ago.
“One day I decided to the tour at Bitwise and I was hooked in and the community is great. Everyone wanted to support me. So I became a part of a bigger clan and got a lot of support. The facilities,” Kim said.
She had worked from home but chose to be a part of the startup ecosystem in Fresno.
Recently, Fresno was highlighted in a Global Startup Ecosystem Report by Startup Genome, which studied cities across America to see the environment for companies.
Bitwise Industries says about 50-60 companies have moved to Fresno since Bitwise began.
“You don’t start Silicon Valley on day one, but we’re beginning to see the potential. We’re seeing the sorts of resources needed to grow the technology industry in Fresno, but we have work left to do. We’ve got to support things like Bitwise and these collisions. We’ve got to continue to be welcoming to outsiders and do more and better in the technology industry,” said Jake Soberal, Bitwise Industries C.E.O.
Soberal believes new companies can create more jobs and economically help the Valley.
Bitwise has seen dozens of businesses relocate in the past few years and they think that that number will only go up.
Say organic food and some might envision earthy-crunchy concoctions that are high on health and low on flavor.
But at Hughson’s new Don’t Panic It’s Organic, good for you and good tasting collide in a pleasant package. The family-run eatery offers organic cafe food — like sandwiches and salads, chili bowls and smoothies. They also offer a full juice bar, smoothies, coffee and tea.
Owner Katherine Bertolotti and her family began eating organic close to two years ago. The Modesto native now lives in Hughson, as do her mother, sister and brother in the heart of the community’s farming land. But then, her now 7-year-old son began to develop severe allergies — including rashes and asthma attacks. She worried that the pesticides on their food and used in their surrounding orchards might be part of the problem.
So she switched her family to organic foods at home and stopped using pesticides on their trees, and then convinced the rest of her family to do the same. But eating out was still a challenge, as few restaurants offer solely organic fare.
“I was cooking and preparing food at home all the time. And I thought, ‘Man, this is a lot of work. If only I could get someone to do it for me,’” she said.
Siblings Sarah, left, and David Mingham, middle, and Katherine Bertolotti at Don’t Panic It’s Organic eatery in Hughson, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018.
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But instead of that, she decided to do it for other people. Bertolotti and her brother David Mingham opened the eatery Don’t Panic It’s Organic in late October. The restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and light dinner options as well as specialty fresh juice, coffee, tea and smoothie drinks. And to prove organic food isn’t all wholesome, they also offer wine and grape-liquor based cocktails like bloody marys and margaritas. Heck, they even have kombucha (a fermented tea) on draft, along with a handful of beers.
Mingham serves as the restaurant manager, and his sister Sarah and mother Lisa also work behind the counter. They source many of their products locally, from small organic farms like Burroughs Family Farms and We the People Farms from Denair. The vast majority of the products they use are organic, while others are gluten-free and some of their meat and poultry are free-range or grass-fed.
Salami sandwich at Don’t Panic It’s Organic eatery in Hughson, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018.
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The restaurant doesn’t have a full kitchen, so its fare is on the lighter side. But you can still get a heaping plate of grass-fed beef chili nachos ($12) or a large organic salami sandwich on roll from Berkeley’s Acme Bread ($9).
Another attraction is the fresh juice bar. You can order a Healthy Heartbeat made from apple, beet, celery, lemon and ginger or the Immunity Booster with celery, spinach, kale, lemon, ginger and garlic. Juices run $7.49 each. Power up any drink with a wheat grass shot for $3 or a “gut shot” of ginger beet, golden turmeric and smoked jalapeno for $1. Smoothies, which also run $7.49 each, range from superfood favorites and fruit-based options to a peanut butter and banana sweet treat and classic strawberry and banana.
Bertolotti said she initially thought about opening possibly in Modesto or elsewhere, but decided on Hughson because it was so close to home. While she worried that the small farming community might not be receptive, she said, people have generally been pleased when they’ve come in. Though there have been a lot of questions.
“People say, ‘Oh, you’re organic. So this is vegan.’ And we’re like, no, we eat meat. It’s just grass-fed and healthier,” she said.
The restaurant has options for people looking for organic meals, gluten-free or probiotic options, paleo menus and more. And it joins a small spate of eateries in and coming to Hughson which have made the small town a mini-foodie destination. They include the new joint Slick Fork BBQ and upcoming Callahan’s Brewing Company. Don’t Panic It’s Organic is also in the same shopping center as the popular Agave Azul Kitchen & Tequila Bar.
Katherine Bertolotti pours koumbucha on tap at Don’t Panic It’s Organic eatery in Hughson, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018.
Andy Alfaro firstname.lastname@example.org
As for that great name, well, it came from her father, who used to reassure her when her kids came over and he fed them.
“My dad would say, ‘Don’t panic, it’s organic.’ And I’d say, ‘Sure, let me read the label,’” she said. “We really just want to cook and feed people good food.”
ALDI prototype stores are in the 22,000 square-foot range. The first Valley location is coming to Porterville.
Published On November 26, 2018 – 2:00 PM Written By Frank Lopez
Porterville residents will have the first chance to shop at ALDI, a low-cost German grocery store, when the Central Valley’s first location opens Dec. 6.
The grand opening will include an official ribbon-cutting ceremony, a Golden Ticket giveaway worth up to $100 to the first 100 shoppers, a produce-for-a-year sweepstakes and sampling of ALDI exclusive brand products.
The Porterville store is located at 770 S. Jaye St. off Highway 90. ALDI is also planning a Hanford store that could be open by the spring of 2019, according to the Hanford Sentinel. All ALDI building prototypes are designed with a square footage of 22,000 feet.
The Porterville store is part of a $5 billion investment to expand to 2,500 stores nationwide by the end of 2022, along with adding 25,000 new jobs in stores, warehouses and offices. ALDI has been in the grocery retailing industry since 1976 and operates more than 1,800 U.S. stores in 35 states and sees more than 40 million customers each month.
The closest current location is in Bakersfield.
“ALDI stores are designed to make life easier for people. We offer high-quality foods at affordable prices and a streamlined shopping experience unlike anything else,” said Tom Cindel, Moreno Valley Division Group Director of Operations and Logistics for ALDI. “From our award-winning products, to trendy, fresh and healthy options, we’re focused on carrying a selection that has something for everyone.”
The stores are designed to provide customers with a streamlined and easy shopping experience. The focus is on providing the best options at the best prices, making the trendy foods affordable and accessible, and selling random items at times when customers need them most, such as rain boots in the spring, or Dutch ovens around Thanksgiving.
By design, the Coyote Entertainment Center is the kind of place you’ll want to bring the family for the day.
Like a full eight-hour day.
“Basically, it’s a one-stop shop,” says Nichole Castillo, director of sales and marketing for the center, which opens Nov. 30 next to Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore.
“It’s almost like a perfect entertainment spot.”
The glass-faced building comes in at close to 90,000 square feet and puts several options under one roof.
The eight-screen Palace Cinemas has 1,100 luxury seats with Christie Pure laser cinema projectors, QSC Theater and Dolby Atmos sound systems, and delivered-to-your-seat food options.
Tachi Palace’s new Coyote Entertainment Center includes eight multiplex movie theaters with reclining leather chairs.
JOHN WALKER email@example.com
Tachi Lanes is a 30-lane bowling alley that’s heavy on flashing neon and swank leather seating with a separated six-lane VIP room.
The shoes are old school.
Mit’si Little Arcade has more than 45 games — franchise games like Halo and The Walking Dead, plus classics like Ice Ball (better known as skee-ball). All games use the point system (ala Dave & Buster’s) and players can earn reward points redeemable in the arcade shop.
There’s a stuffed poop emoji, for example, but also Xbox gaming consoles and the like.
Red Bud Billiards is set up with nine tournament-style tables, a full bar and a video wall made up with nine large-screen TVs.
Red Bud Billiards at Tachi Palace’s new Coyote Entertainment Center also features a sports bar with large-screen TVs.
JOHN WALKER firstname.lastname@example.org
Along with the standard theater-style concessions, there is also the Ch’ox’l Eagle Lounge, which features a full menu of flatbreads, salads and paninis, plus pizzas, chicken wings, beer-battered fish and chips, and burgers. For those of drinking age, the restaurant features 30 craft beers along with specialty cocktails and an expansive bourbon selection.
The center will be open 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
Taken with the existing casino and hotel (and with the World Surf League hosting events nearby), Tachi Palace is an obvious draw for those from the area — at the naval air base or in nearby towns — but also for people across the state, Castillo says.
“It’s like a hidden gem in the middle of all this ag land,” she says.
Luis Hernandez, Visalia Times-DeltaPublished 9:58 a.m. PT Nov. 12, 2018
With the recent openings of Ross Dress for Less and dd’s Discounts, the Tulare Pavilion shopping center is near tenant capacity, recovering from a double-gut punch of having two anchor stores close.
Mervyn’s closed at the shopping center in 2009. Kmart closed in 2016.
Coupled with the openings of Harbor Freight Tools and a Dollar Tree store earlier this year, the vacant spaces are now filled.
“We saw the Mervyn’s building was empty for a long time,” Tulare Council member Carlton Jones said. “It’s nice to see that filled.”
Harbor Freight Tools and the Dollar Tree store moved into the former Mervyn’s building while Ross and dd’s took over Kmart’s former location.
Donnette Silva-Carter, Tulare Chamber of Commerce CEO, said the stores’ openings mean new jobs in Tulare and a boost to the local economy.
“It’s exciting to see activity there,” she said. “We are seeing that parking lot busy.”
The activity means an increase to the city’s sales tax revenue, Silva-Carter said. Already the shopping center features Big Lots, restaurants, a travel agency, shoe and apparel stores, and an insurance company.
Sales tax revenue is how municipalities pay for services such as police, fire, parks, and roads.
Shoppers seem to enjoy visiting the new stores.
On a recent afternoon, Lisa Palomino, a Visalia resident, walked out of Ross with a couple of large plastic bags filled with merchandise. She said likes shopping in Tulare.
“The store is clean. There’s ample parking. The employees were friendly with customers,” she said. “They have good selections in the store.”
Palomino didn’t mind driving to Tulare for her shopping, she said. After dropping off the bags in her car, Palomino walked to dd’s to continue her shopping.
Viridiana Velasquez, a Tulare resident, said she planned on shopping at the two stores. She said it was the stores’ opening that drew her to the shopping center.
And Velasquez household members were planning on additional trips to the Tulare Pavillion shopping center: Her husband was planned to pick up some items at Harbor Freight Tools.
With the opening of Ross and dd’s in Tulare, the clothing stores now have locations in Visalia, Hanford, and Delano.
Velasquez likes having those stores in her hometown, she said.
“We don’t have to go elsewhere to go to those stores,” she said. “We have them here.”
Silva-Carter called on residents to support the recent store openings.
“We ought to stay in our town and shop in our town before shopping elsewhere,” she said. “Stay here first.”
Besides the openings at the Tulare Pavilion, there’s plenty of business activity around Tulare, including the openings of The Habit and Wayback Burgers and the recent opening of a Starbucks in downtown.
Additional businesses are expected to open in Tulare, the result of a recruiting trip to a Southern California conference, Jones also said. Seemingly, business activity comes in waves.
“I hope it’s a wave that lasts a long time,” Silva-Carter said.
At Heartbeat Boxing near Downtown Fresno, there’s no shortage of quick feet, fast punches and passion.
“November was our three-year anniversary, we’re just looking to build out business bigger and stronger,” said Gilbert Ruiz, Heartbeart boxing owner
Owner Gilbert Ruiz is proud of the facility growth at Los Angeles and Van Ness. He’s also had some business help from small business advocates and experts from Access Plus Capital.
“They’ve just been a big coach in starting our business from our business plan to projecting where our business is going to go to secure loans and future loans, because we are growing, we are growing very rapidly.” Ruiz said.
Recently, Access Plus Capital was awarded a Go-Biz grant from the Governor’s office, which gave out $17 million statewide.
Access Plus Capital received more than 100,000. About 70 percent of loans given out are to minority owned businesses.
“It’s going to help us expand our support to businesses, especially on the pre-loan side. We work with businesses at no cost to the businesses to help them with their business plan or marketing or finance. It’s going to allow us to do more support particularly to small businesses in our rural communities,” said Tate Hill, Access Plus Capital senior manager.
Access Plus also received another major national grant from Chase Bank and the Central Valley Community Foundation called Pro Neighborhoods.
The $5 million grant will help support small businesses in a variety of ways, but to support neighborhoods with housing and small business development. About $2.5 million will be lent out and focused in urban areas.
“Impacting low-income neighborhoods and neighborhoods that have been environmentally and economically challenged,” Hill said.
Companies that are interested in the funding and resources can reach out to Access Plus Capital. Officials say programs like this help boost business in the Valley.
The Tulare County Planning Commission has recommended the approval of the Sequoia Gateway Commerce and Business Park near Visalia.
Published On November 16, 2018 – 12:20 PM Written By David Castellon
The Tulare County Planning Commission voted Wednesday to recommend county supervisors approve a large shopping, hotel, office and medical complex off Highway 99 near Visalia.
Plans for the Sequoia Gateway Commerce and Business Park off the southeast exit of Caldwell Avenue and Highway 99, just outside the Visalia city limits, would include in its first phase a 60,000-square-foot Valley Children’s Medical Group Specialty Care Center, along with a gas station and convenience store, fast food and retail outlets built on 12.4 acres.
The second phase would include a hotel, additional retail and fast food spaces, restaurants and office space built on 101 acres.
A visitors center also is planned for the site.
Valley Children’s reportedly plans to relocate its Akers Specialty Care Center in Visalia to the new, larger locale, with projections that about 30,000 patients may be seen there over a decade.
A commission representative is tentatively scheduled to present the group’s recommendation during the Dec. 4 Tulare County Board of Supervisors meeting.
Eastchester haunt Cafe Smitten is expanding to southwest Bakersfield, into a locally focused shopping center developed by Bolthouse Properties. These are renderings of the future cafe at Ming Avenue and Buena Vista Road.
At a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, the coffeehouse’s owners, Stasie and Shai Bitton, detailed plans to open a Seven Oaks location with extended hours, a more substantial meal menu than its downtown location offers and a wide selection of beer and wine — a “fuller restaurant experience,” as Stasie put it.
“It was a dream” to expand to another location, she said, and the southwest seemed an easy choice.
“We were drawing a lot of customers from the southwest to downtown,” she added. “It just felt like a natural progression.”
The new location, simply named Smitten, is scheduled to open in fall of 2019 on a property immediately north of the existing Grand Island Village shopping center at the northwest corner of Ming Avenue and Buena Vista Road. Grand Island Village, a property Bolthouse began to develop in 2010, currently has tenants that are mostly independently owned and operated.
Seven Oaks does have coffee houses but none of them are independents, noted Bolthouse Properties’ senior vice president of development, Bruce Davis. He said bringing in Smitten will give customers a new option for quality food, good service and a positive customer experience.
“That translates no matter where you go,” he said.
Shai Bitton sees Smitten adjusting well to the distinctions between downtown and Seven Oaks. For one thing, it will be easier moving into a built-to-suit space rather than a 100-year-old building that required significant adaptation, he said. There’s also less need in southwest Bakersfield to generate foot traffic.
“Over here you have the feel of a big-city small coffee shop,” he said. “In the southwest it’s a different feel.”
Angel Hansen and Nicole Miller, both of whom had driven from Tehachapi Tuesday to eat at Cafe Smitten, agreed the business has something special to offer. Hansen praised its calming atmosphere, “decent prices” and nourishing food.
Miller also complimented the menu, with its organic and freshly prepared items, and expressed an appreciation for the many plants and aesthetically pleasing design. She said she hopes the company is able to maintain those qualities as it expands.
Published On November 9, 2018 – 7:00 AM Written By Donald A. Promnitz
The past three years have been good to the staff at Lee’s Heating & Air in Fresno. In fact, at a 128 percent rate of growth between 2015 and 2017, the firm has become one of the fastest growing companies in the Central Valley.
For more information on the fastest growing companies in the San Joaquin Valley, please see The Business Journal’s annual list on page 10.
According to Tom Howard, the owner of Lee’s, this uptick in business can be largely attributed to customer service and reputation, along with upgraded software to connect with customers. Another big factor, however, has been the improvement of the economy, both nationally and locally.
“It allows homeowners to make upgrades that they haven’t been able to make before,” Howard said. “I think that the economy is doing a lot better in the Central Valley than it was in 2009 and 2010 — that definitely helped fuel the growth.”
Howard isn’t alone in his observation. According to Fresno State economist Ernie Goss, the Central Valley — which has previously lagged behind the rest of the state — has been making rapid progress in recent years.
“Now the catch up is really [sped] up, meaning the rate of growth has been positive for quite some time,” Goss said. “But the rate has definitely increased and relative to the U.S., it’s certainly stronger.”
In Goss’s research, he found that overall job growth in the Central Valley over the past 12 months has been 2.6 percent compared to the national average of 1.7 percent. Howard said that his own company has expanded its employment roster from approximately 26 in 2015 to about 50. Meanwhile, expanded business has given Lee’s the ability to pay tuition for his employees who are in college, along with their books.
Goss added that construction and manufacturing are two other sectors to watch. Construction is surpassing the national average with 8.3 percent job growth in the region, while in manufacturing, its 5.1 percent. Delano Construction, LLC of Fresno, which currently has a roster of 26 employees, saw a revenue growth of 208 percent.
The last three years have also proven successful for the solar companies in the region. Topping this industry has been Energy Concepts Enterprises, Inc., which went from revenues of $4.2 million in 2015 to $9.8 million in 2017, a rate of 132 percent. SunPower by Quality Home Services also saw growth of 90 percent in the same time frame, while in Visalia, CalCom Energy was up by 47.46 percent. According to Ryan Gutierrez of Energy Concepts, this has largely been the result of higher utility bills.
“Rates are continually going up,” Gutierrez said. “Solar offers a way for a customer to avoid rate increases by covering their own quest for energy.”
Goss said that tariffs on imported solar panels would further help domestic manufacturers.
Meanwhile, a law passed earlier this year mandating solar panels on new homes could also be good business when it goes into effect in 2020.
For some companies, however, growth isn’t necessarily facilitated by a growing economy. For example, BCT Consulting, Inc. of Fresno, provider of technology solutions, tends to be busier when there’s a dip in the market. This is because their company deals in the outsourcing of technology and helping clients find solutions that are more cost effective.
Nonetheless, BCT has grown by 27 percent. Eric Rawn, president and founder, credited this to acquisitions and mergers, along with community outreach and customer service.
“We don’t want to grow just to grow,” Rawn said. “We want to grow because it makes sense for everyone involved.”
In the months and years to come, Goss added that he has optimism for the future of the San Joaquin Valley. Though he stated concerns about immigration and the agricultural exports being impacted by the current trade war with China, he said the region has become increasingly appealing to the rest of the state.
“So there is the ability of some of those companies coming to Fresno and enjoying many of the benefits of California, but not many of the costs that we’re seeing in San Francisco, for example,” Goss said.