Friday, July 31, 2009

Short takes around town: a hard throwing local kid heads to the big leagues, dangerous mortgage default rates and a touch of the arts

Looking forward to a brief respite from the heat wave this weekend, when the highs are expected to stay a tad below 100. You know you're from Bakersfield when you welcome 99 degree days ... Lots happening around town. Let's get to it:

* ... JARRET HEADS TO THE BIGS: It's always great to see local kids excel, be it in athletics or academics or both. So here's to Jarret Martin, former Centennial High standout now at Bakersfield College who just inked a nice contract with the Baltimore Orioles. Jarret's mom is Dana Martin, a local writer and regular contributor to BakersfieldLife magazine and one of our community's great cheerleaders. Dana tells me her boy got what he wanted in terms of money, and on top of that he gets his college education paid for by the Orioles. So the kid can't lose either way. Here's to Jarret and all the other local kids moving up and out.

* ... MIXED NEWS ON HOUSING: I try to keep a pulse on the local housing market here and yesterday posted a short (and optimistic) note about home sales after talking to Ray Karpe, president of Karpe Real Estate Center. (read that post here) Then today I read in the Los Angeles Times that California's default rate has soared to 9.5 percent. That means that 1 in every 10 home loans in California is now in default. Ouch! So I touched based with local appraiser Gary Crabtree, who arguably has a better handle on local housing than anyone else in town. Let's hear it from Gary in his own words:

"We are in recovery mode now with increasing prices, but my real concern is the second wave of upcoming foreclosures, the unemployment and the ever increasing number of "short sale" listings (future foreclosures) on the market. I just ran some numbers today and found that out of 1,345 total listings, there are only 280 REO listings on the market (21%) and 389 short sale listings (29%). On the sales side out of 506 sales so far in July, 317 (62%) are REO and 53 (10%) are short sales. "This doesn't bode well for the short sales that will most likely turn into foreclosures. In spite of the record number of foreclosures, my sources are telling me that the lenders are actually showing some responsibility by only releasing a few each month for sale and holding on to the rest either in the form of rentals or leaving former owners/tenants in them. I hope this is true. If so, it will go a long way to curb the next "bloodbath". "

So let's all keep our fingers crossed. We need a steady recovery in housing to lead us out of this recession. There is certainly pent-up demand, so let's get to it.

* ... DANTE'S DIVINE COMEDY: If you're in the mood for an evening of art and education, mark next Thursday (Aug. 6) on your calendar. The Bakersfield Museum of Art will host a lecture by Dr. Robert Crewdsen on The Divine Comedy. It runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is free to members and just $3 for non members. The museum always does a good job with these lectures, so make sure to check it out. For more details check it out here.

No comments: