Real Estate

Tuesday, Jun 18 2013 12:14 PM

'First Look': Local real estate market shifting

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    Bart and Tracey Tipton of Majestic Properties talk with Californian President and CEO Richard Beene about current trends in the real estate market on "First Look with Scott Cox."

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

The Bakersfield residential real estate market continues to change, the founders of Majestic Properties said Tuesday on "First Look with Scott Cox."

Bart Tipton offered these numbers: Two years ago, active for-sale listings were comprised of about 33 percent bank-owned properties, 33 percent short sales and 33 percent regular sales.

Now it's about 10 percent bank-owned properties, 5 percent short sales and 85 percent regular sales.

Californian President and CEO Richard Beene asked where the market stands on a scale of 1 to 10. Tracey Tipton gave the market a 6.

"We're seeing some market turnaround," Tracey said.

Beene said of the market, "This town will not be healthy until this thing is stabilized."

The two real estate agents started their business about three and a half to four years ago, and primarily focus on higher-end properties.

Among the insights they offered into the market:

* There are currently fewer than 600 homes for sale. Two years ago there was double the inventory, Bart Tipton said.

"Six hundred homes in a market this size is nothing," Beene said.

* The shadow inventory has pretty much dried up, Bart Tipton said.

* The hottest area of town for them is the northwest, which Tracey Tipton attributed to good schools, good shopping, larger lots and people's love for that area.

* They're still seeing buyers willing to pay in cash. Bart Tipton said Bakersfield homes are still affordable.

* The average home price has gone up $20,000 since the start of the year, Bart Tipton said.

* Beene asked if they find buyers don't have the money they need to put down on a home. That does happen, Bart Tipton said, but the interest rates are quite low.

* Beene asked what makes them think there won't be a second bubble.

"The quality of the buyers and the programs out there now," Bart Tipton said. He noted that there are a lot more loan underwriters really watching transactions.

Beene also asked the agents to share their advice for buyers and sellers.

Beene said the market went "in the tank" in late 2007, and said his sense is a lot of buyers and sellers have suffered whiplash from being underwater on their loans, or not knowing if they can sell their homes for what they paid.

Bart Tipton said more cash offers are coming in, and some people aren't dependent on the appraisal process.

"Make sure you have everything dialed in as best as possible." Bart Tipton said.

They noted that demand is traditionally higher in the summer, because families want to move before school starts.

They also suggested making sure the house is priced right; if it is, it will attract multiple offers.

For buyers, Tracey Tipton suggests they not ask a lot from sellers; she said offers need to be "super-clean."

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