The Bakersfield single-family home market may have found a comfortable resting place after a few bumper years.
A new report shows that the median sale price of an existing home in the city remained at $370,000 in March – similar to January and February, despite rising interest rates and continued increases in supply and demand.
Data compiled by local appraiser Gary Crabtree could suggest a bidding frenzy during the pandemic has broken even as new and old stock hits a market that has become much less affordable than it was. before the crisis.
Things could change as the industry enters its traditional spring buying season and demand for new homes in particular increases. But we have the feeling that the market has stabilized, at least temporarily.
Glenn Porter, broker and owner of RE/MAX Golden Empire, was not ready to declare the market settled — prices could still go up or down, he said Thursday. But he sees that things are noticeably calmer.
“I think we’re doing pretty well where we are right now,” he said. “We had a phenomenal journey there for a year and a half, two years almost.”
This is not to say that several offers have stopped coming in on newly listed properties. The difference is that it’s not happening as much at the high end of the market at a time when rising mortgage interest rates, although still at an all-time low of around 5%, limited the number of qualified buyers.
As President Anna Albiar of the Bakersfield Association of Realtors pointed out, homes priced near the median continue to see a lot of interest from buyers.
“Our agents are still seeing a lot of multiple offers, a lot of activity going on,” Albiar said. She added that the average price per square foot was up more than 5% in March and at around $224, that market gauge ended last month 25% higher than it was. last year.
Crabtree, which called the market “stable for three months now” due to the unchanged median price, said supply rose 15% in March to 326 listings, up about 10% from to the previous year.
Meanwhile, demand for existing homes jumped 34% to 565 sales last month, down 12% from March 2021, according to Crabtree.
The numbers were starkly different for new homes, whose median sale price in March rose about 7% to $474,450, about 32% higher than a year earlier.
Total new home sales in March rose sharply to 71%, or 113 transactions. That’s about 3% more than the March 2021 total.
In notes accompanying its data, Crabtree noted that higher prices and interest rates mean that one in three city residents can afford to buy a home at the median price, up from about one in two before the pandemic, while only one in four can buy a new home.
He also pointed out that the number of Bakersfield homeowners seized with foreclosure last month jumped 73% month-on-month to a level more than triple what it was a year ago. , as loan forbearance comes to an end for many.
Porter said he expects the market to subside, and it usually does, but demand still outstrips home availability. On the one hand, millennials have started buying houses, and even selling them to move into bigger houses.
“At the end of the day, I think we’re not really settled,” he said. “We haven’t seen the top, we haven’t seen the bottom.”