Tulare County Economic Forecast: The Valley’s Booming Industrial Center

The long-awaited Visalia UPS hub, with a total area of ​​approximately 450,000 square feet, opened on Plaza Drive about a year ago. Even greater industrial growth is expected for Tulare County in the future. Photo by Layton Construction

The nearly two-year economic boost from a global health crisis has revealed a well-reported labor shortage, supply chain issues and inflation. In Tulare County, industrial growth is keeping things stable.

Tulare County Economic Development Corporation CEO Nathan Ahle said the spotlight was on Visalia Industrial Park.

Tulare County continues to experience strong industrial growth, including the recently opened Amazon warehouse and recently announced Ace Hardware logistics facility. Ace Hardware measures 1 million square feet and is expected to provide 400 jobs.

The industrial park is designed to serve many years of growth, Ahle said. Interest in the region continues to gain ground.

“The land is moving fast and projects are being built and buildings to specification are being built, or being built to suit. And we are certainly seeing a strong demand in this area, ”said Ahle.

The city of Porterville is also poised for growth, he said. It looks promising, especially since it has owned one of the busiest Walmart distribution centers in the country for decades.

“Towns that might not be 99 but certainly have that potential would be right there in Porterville,” said Ahle.

The city of Tulare will also experience significant development over the next three to five years around the Agri-Center international. There will be a new interchange at the exit of Highway 99.

He expects the land to be inaugurated for the new interchange sometime in 2022. The trefoil interchange is expected to improve traffic conditions for events and pave the way for further development in the region.

“Plans are underway. They are interested in the development of hotels, the development of convention centers, and I certainly think that it is possible to see more industrial and commercial activity there – things that are related to agriculture in this area. Ahle said.

Tulare County is no exception when it comes to being hit by inflation, but Ahle said the county is still growing.

“I think a lot of this has to do with our position as a logistics hub and only our role in the supply chain. I mean, we all know we’re trying to improve the supply chain. That and our location, I think that isolates us a bit from some of these challenges, ”Ahle said.

Dena Clark, 2021 president of the Tulare County Real Estate Association, said the association was struggling to keep tabs on available inventory.

“It is difficult to assess where the inventory will be in the future. I can say the market is still strong, rates are still low, ”Clark said.

In a healthy market, three to six months of inventory is sufficient. In today’s market, Clark said Tulare County only has a week of inventory left.

“Our inventory is extremely low,” she said.

In small towns like Exeter, Lindsay and Woodlake, there are times when there are no homes to show customers, depending on their price range. This time of year, buying activity is slower because people want to enter a home before or after the holidays. People are also reluctant to list their homes while on vacation.

Among those who buy at this time of year, motivation is strong.

The mindset of the owners has changed due to working from home for almost two years.

“For a long time, people moved to the big cities to find work. And now what we are seeing is that they are coming out of big cities and going to smaller towns. Visalia has always been on the map to have one of the most affordable residential areas where the quality of life is always very good, ”she said.

It has always taken longer to sell homes in some areas like Three Rivers and Springville. But even those homes have gone quickly over the past year.

Clark expects 2022 to be a good, strong year with low interest rates.

“I think the forecast for 2022 is supposed to be still low interest rates – maybe a swing towards the end of the year. They always say we’ll have a strong market because people still need housing. , and it’s very competitive in the rental market, ”said Clark.

Multi-family units are coming in force. The city of Visalia issued 130 multi-family permits from January to October of this year – the highest number issued in the past five years. Attitudes towards rent have changed for qualified homebuyers, she said. With rents rising, many would rather pay into something they own, according to Clark.

The rise in prices will not go away, and not only in the housing market.

The Visalia Chamber of Commerce has seen businesses stretch due to inflation. CEO Gail Zurek said companies fear passing these costs on to customers.

“Uncertainty in the market is never a good thing and it feels like there is a lot of uncertainty. There is a lot of inflation and it affects the elasticity that many companies face when it comes to pricing, ”Zurek said.

Staffing is a universal problem that affects all industries.

“The supply chain seems to be an issue when it comes to many of our manufacturers and making sure they have access to the ingredients they need or the parts they need,” he said. she declared.

Retailing is approaching a busy season, but they are hoping that being able to shop in person will soften the blow this year. Many retailers have seen consumers buy things earlier than in previous years.

Looking to 2022, businesses really need certainty, she said.

“The current business situation is radically different from what existed in February 2020. And to see these changes is remarkable. What businesses need now after so many changes is a period for them to move through these changes and adapt to these changes, ”Zurek said.