BAKERSFIELD, CA- New home construction is on the upswing in Bakersfield. With near record low mortgage rates and a shortage of existing homes, developers are trying to accommodate demand.
Local real estate appraiser Gary Crabtree said home permits are up 45 percent compared to last April. When Standard Pacific Homes decided to open the first phase of a new development off Harris Road in south Bakersfield, all six homes on one street sold in one day.
"In a recent conversation I had with one builder, he had indicated that there was about 80 percent of the buyers in his track were former owners that were foreclosed on in 2006 and 2007," said Gary Crabtree, Affiliated Appraisers.
Crabtree said owners who lost their homes during the housing bust are in the market to buy again, but finding an existing home on the market is difficult.
"Primarily, they are competing with investors for those homes and we see well-conditioned properties come on the market and there are multiple offers within hours," he continued.
According to Crabtree, that is fueling bidding wars and driving up list prices. The median price of a home in Bakersfield is $250,000, compared to about $145,000 a year ago.
Inventory is low. Crabtree said there are 432 homes for sale in Bakersfield. "It's almost a historic low," he noted.
New home construction, which was hit hard in last decade's housing boom, has seen significant growth.
"In the month of April, Standard Pacific Homes has introduced two new communities to the Bakersfield area. Both celebrations drew hundreds of groups of home shoppers," said Danielle Tocco.
"We introduced six homes during Phase One and they all sold out that weekend," she continued.
Amanda Martinez and her husband bought one of those homes. "Right now, I live in a condo which is really not suited to family living," she explained.
Their search for an existing home came up empty. "It's kind of hard to find the open floor plan I was looking for," she explained.
The Martinez family will move into their new home this summer. The second phase of the Windwood development will hit the market in May.