‘Gimme Shelter’: Why Fresno is one of the nation’s hottest housing markets

Bree McDowel, left, and Bill Van Heusen, right, enjoy the sunset from their patio at The Row in Fresno.
Bree McDowel, left, and Bill Van Heusen, right, enjoy the sunset from their patio at The Row, a new apartment development in Fresno in March.
(Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)

The sky-high rents in the Bay Area and Los Angeles garner most of the attention in debates about California’s housing affordability woes. But few places in the country have seen such dramatic growth in what it costs to rent an apartment as Fresno, the state’s fifth-largest city.

The monthly rent for an average apartment in Fresno has gone up nearly 60% since 2017 to $1,469. Fresno’s median home value has risen almost as much over the same time and is now $331,000.

On this episode of “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast,” we discuss what is causing the housing frenzy in Fresno. Unlike other big cities around the state, Fresno’s population is growing. New investors are snapping up small apartment complexes in central areas and raising rents. And it’s become very hard for residents in the region, which is one of the poorest in the state, to keep up.


Our guest is Jovana Morales-Tilgren, a housing policy coordinator with Leadership Counsel for Justice & Accountability, a nonprofit that advocates for low-income tenants in the Central Valley.

Gimme Shelter,”a biweekly podcast that looks at why it’s so expensive to live in California and what the state can do about it, features Liam Dillon, who covers housing affordability issues for the Los Angeles Times, and Manuela Tobías, housing reporter for CalMatters.

You can subscribe to “Gimme Shelter” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Soundcloud and Google Podcasts.