Uncertainty over oil prices makes for a difficult housing market forecast

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The numbers are in for the 2015 Bakersfield housing market and Thursday the forecast for 2016 was released. 

Local appraiser, Gary Crabtree, offered his assessment to members in the appraisal, title and real estate industries. But, Crabtree says uncertainty over oil prices makes for a difficult forecast. 

As he revisited his 2015 housing market projection, one thing stuck out. "The wild card was oil," said Crabtree. 

Oil layoffs mean shattered budgets at home, putting mortgage payments in jeopardy, among other things. Without being able to tell how much longer the slump will last, Crabtree said 2016's market changes are dependent the health of our local oil and Ag industries. 

Local real estate agent, Laurie McCarty, agrees. "We see a fear of those in the industry, a lot of sellers proactively putting their home on the market, trying to preserve whatever equity they have, even though they still have a job they think maybe at the end of the year they won't," said McCarty. 

Despite the downfall in one industry Crabtree doesn't foresee a wild swing for 2016. "Despite the economy we are suffering through the housing market is remaining stable," said Crabtree. 

Especially when we're talking about homes valued at under $300,000. "We have noticed even if you are in the 310-320 price range, it's a much harder market," said McCarty. 

One positive sign, the home foreclosures and short sales that were the hallmark of the housing collapse in Kern County, have dropped dramatically. 

As for rising interest rates, Crabtree says no need to worry, at least for now. "The average family will have to make around 25-hundred dollars more a year to qualify for the same loan so it’s not that much," said Crabtree.=

"The good news for them is they are still going to be in area in a degree of affordably where home purchasing and the realization of the American dream is still going to be alive for them," said Crabtree. 

He says the peak home sales season starts in April and ends around September; if you are looking to buy you should start to look around that time.

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