Local housing executives worry about declining affordability – The Bakersfield Californian

December 14, 2021 by No Comments

Bakersfield real estate professionals lamented declining affordability within the local housing market during an online forum Monday that laid the blame on lack of inventory, state building requirements and rising demand from outside the area during the pandemic.

The hourlong discussion gave voice to frustrations from homebuyers and renters alike who are paying sharply higher prices than they would have even two years ago. Related concerns brought up Monday dealt with neighborhood gentrification and young people leaving their hometown for less expensive markets elsewhere.

None of the four professionals participating in the event predicted much positive change in the near term. But the immediate outlook sounded worse for renters than homebuyers, not only because builders are busy putting up new homes but also, rising interest rates are expected to cool the market.

No such moderating force is on the horizon in the rental market, property manager and Realtor Nik Boone said during the forum.

“It’s as, if not more, cutthroat to rent a property as it is to buy a property right now,” said the owner of Bakersfield’s Ascend Real Estate & Property Management. “It’s really, really frustrating for people to get into Bakersfield right now.”

Monday’s event, hosted by the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Chevron Corp. and Dignity Health, focused on recent conditions, but it also compared and contrasted them with the housing bust of 2006-07 and its aftermath.

A big part of what’s different now, some of Monday’s speakers said, is that since the start of the pandemic, people from more expensive markets have flocked to Bakersfield’s relative affordability within the state.

Bakersfield appraiser Gary Crabtree, a close observer of the local housing market who has worked locally for six decades, said many of the area’s homeowners are not being priced out.

“I’m surprised at the number of locals that are buying,” he said, adding that some who bought entry-level homes have since seen such strong price appreciation that now they may be able to move into a new home in a more desirable neighborhood.

Unfortunately, he said, an entry-level home in Bakersfield may have become “a thing of the past.”

“We literally do not have an entry-level market anymore,” Crabtree said, adding that’s more a challenge for local first-time buyers than it is for people coming from other markets who expect to pay higher prices.

Another distinction that arose during Monday’s discussion was the difference between the kinds of homes available locally as opposed to what’s on sale in bigger markets.

Urban infill opportunities are becoming more common in already developed areas like downtown, …….

Source: https://www.bakersfield.com/news/local-housing-executives-worry-about-declining-affordability/article_ffdd0998-5c68-11ec-a465-ef9af911890e.html

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