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Tuesday, Apr 09 2013 12:42 PM

'First Look': Appraiser talks about latest in local housing market

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    Appraiser Gary Crabtree

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

Local appraiser Gary Crabtree forecasts home values will rise 18 percent to 19 percent over the next year. He shared that and other insights Tuesday on the "First Look with Scott Cox" simulcast.

"The dynamic today is one of extreme shortage," Crabtree said. "There are no foreclosures and anything that comes on the market through foreclosure, 60 percent of them are purchased by investors, Our market today is an investor-driven market."

And we don't have the job growth and the economy to sustain the prices that we see going up, Crabtree said.

He also shared these numbers:

* 123 building permits were issued in the city of Bakersfield in the last month, a sign new construction is picking up again.

* 440 existing homes were on the market as of Tuesday morning.

Crabtree said people awaited a second wave of foreclosures, but instead of those homes being released to the market, they were packaged into portfolios and sold to large investment firms that then used them as rentals.

Californian business reporter John Cox asked Crabtree at what point he sees investors getting out of the market. Crabtree said it all depends on how high prices go, and the point at which investors can no longer make money on them.

For now, Crabtree said he's hearing from real estate agents who say they've listed a property, received 10 to 15 legitimate purchase offers, but then an investor says he'll offer list price or even $2,000 to $3,000 less. But that investor will pay cash, and close escrow in a week, which is attractive to some sellers.

His advice for people looking for a single-family home? Get a Realtor, be patient and don't panic.

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