New data show Bakersfield's home market and that of the Central Valley as a whole are holding up better through the coronavirus crisis than most of the rest of the state.

The city's median home sale price rose 3.8 percent in April to $274,000 while California overall experienced a 1 percent dip, according to figures released this week.

That left Bakersfield's median up 8.6 percent year over year while the state's was essentially flat at $606,410.

Local observers said Bakersfield's home prices are continuing to benefit from low inventory and strong affordability, as well as low interest rates and a seller's market.

"People still have to have a house to live in," said broker associate Terri Collins. "They need bigger houses, they need smaller houses. Or they need their first house."

In two important ways the Central Valley's home market stood out from the rest of the state in a report released Monday by the California Association of Realtors.

A big drop in the number of homes sold in April was worse in every other major region of the state than it was in the Central Valley.

CAR said California's April sale total was down 30.1 percent from a year earlier — it was off 37.4 percent in the Bay Area — but in the Valley the decline was just 26.1 percent.

"As expected, California home sales experienced the worst month-to-month sales decline in more than four decades as the coronavirus pandemic prompted stay-at-home orders, which kept both buyers and sellers on the sidelines," CAR President Jeanne Radsick, a second-generation Realtor from Bakersfield, said in a news release Monday.

The Central Valley's other notable distinction was its median sales price in April as compared with a year earlier. That figure was down in the Central Coast and the Bay Area — but it was up 3.5 percent in Southern California and up 4.8 percent in the Valley.

Appraiser Gary Crabtree, who monitors the local market and provided Bakersfield-specific data Sunday, said fewer escrows are closing lately, probably because escrows are being processed slower during the pandemic than before, but that the number of sales pending is way up in recent weeks.

The number of homes being listed for sale is down, too, he said. He attributed the reduction to people sheltering in place during the pandemic.

He and Collins said they are still seeing homes fetch multiple offers. Collins said it's partly because people are moving to Bakersfield to work or otherwise taking advantage of the area's strong affordability as compared with the rest of the state.

Her view is that prices will keep climbing as interest rates stay low and that the local market will do fine through the coronavirus crisis.

"I think we're going to get through this," she said.

Crabtree said he has looked at the pandemic as being a "blip" in the market and that a bigger impact will come from the oil-price decline that has already cost Kern County many hundreds of jobs.

Radsick at CAR predicted a slowdown that will last into summer.

"While some economic activity will resume as the state gradually reopens," she wrote, "the housing market is expected to remain sluggish for the next couple of months as potential market participants deal with the impact of stay-in-place restrictions."

Follow John Cox on Twitter: @TheThirdGraf.

(9) comments

Unionpacific

I see that the news has gone from "Corona" to "Commerce" when commerce should have been a top priority from the get go. But by enacting a shutdown to contain a virus "Commerce" has a potential crisis. When Fall arrives and Corona comes along meeting with the Flu, creating another bigger crisis that requires another shutdown.

Zeppo

A note to Terri Collins: Just a suggestion, but you would be more attractive if you didn't try to dress like a teenager.

All Star

Like she cares about you opinion...

Inconvenient Truth

So, Bakersfield’s housing market is the best looking horse at the glue factory.

First: Used home sales are counted when they close escrow, not when they sell. Therefore, allowing for an average 45-60 day escrow, the latest sales figures are for Homes that sold way back in early to mid March; before the Governor’s Covid lockdowns even began.

Second, the actual number of home sales has plummeted the last month, at a time when home sales should be ramping up Into the strongest summer season.

Don’t believe me? Go to Realtor.com and search for all Recently Sold homes in Bakersfield. You will see all the sales for the last 6 months.

Sales nosedived beginning in April.

Moardeeb

I wouldn't buy a home right now, no, no way.

All Star

So you will continue to live in an apartment?

Zeppo

Inconvenient Truth: I wish the BC would not produce such lies. This is why so many call the media "fake news."

Inconvenient Truth

I just hate all the puffery by people who profit directly from convincing consumers to overpay for an asset; especially when they know the market is heading for a major correction due to the recession/depression our country is heading into.

Realtors love to brag about home prices going up as If it were a good thing.

Would most consumers consider it a good thing if food prices, gasoline or automobile prices kept going up?

I expect realtors to continue touting real estate sales even as prices begin cratering; just as they did in 2006 - 2010.

Anyone remember former National Association of Realtors (NAR) President David Lereah’s Infamous 2006 advertising campaign just as the housing market started crashing?

https://www.millersamuel.com/buy-this-its-a-great-time-to-buy-or-sell-a-home/

The slogan was: “It’s a great time to buy or sell a home.”

Seriously?

What would you think if your stock broker told you “It’s a great time to buy or sell Microsoft stock”?

I understand wanting to promote home sales/purchases when you take a percentage cut of the sales price on every transaction, but don’t try to convince us it’s a “seller’s market” when 36 million Americans have filed for unemployment, the local unemployment rate is over 20%, the County has instituted a hiring freeze, the Governor wants a 10% pay cut for all state employees, and the dining and leisure industry has lost over half it’s business.

Lilyrose

You are so funny and witty with a twist.

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