There is a bit of good news for local homeowners. It appears the housing market is in full recovery mode following the housing crash. Real estate experts point to a shortage of supply and fewer foreclosed homes on the market.
Right now, we are in the off peak season for the housing market. Usually, demand is low and prices are down. But here in Bakersfield, we are seeing the exact opposite.
"It's a welcome relief. We've been through probably the worst real estate market that I can remember. I've been appraising properties for 50 years," said Gary Crabtree, Owner of Affiliated Appraisers.
The latest housing report from local appraiser Gary Crabtree shows the worst may be over for the local housing market.
"We've seen a dramatic shift in the market, as far as the supply is concerned. We've seen prices increase. We're running very low on foreclosure or REO inventory," he continued.
There are 515 homes for sale in Bakersfield. That is down 44% from last year. Only 95 of them are foreclosures or short sales.
Jon Busby has been selling homes in Bakersfield for 26 years. He said buyers don't have as many options as just a few months ago.
"You have to educate the buyers. They may have to do different things. Not ask for a home warranty or not ask for closing costs. I just sold a property the other day. We had to write it over asking price," said Jon Busby, Associate Broker, RE/MAX Magic.
Dan McMahan put a home on the market last month. "We listed it high and it sold right away," said McMahan.
The home sold in three days with a "full price offer, all cash," he explained.
The median home price in Bakersfield increased 7% between November and December. "It is rapidly changing from a buyer to a seller's market and because of the lack of supply that is allowing new construction to gear back up again," noted Crabtree.
New home construction, which was hit hard during the housing bust, has seen significant growth. Developers are building on vacant lots that sat empty for years.
"It's been estimated that for every new home that is built, three jobs are added to the job market," he continued.
Crabtree expects home prices to continue to rise, but he questions how much and how quickly.