Thursday, May 31, 2012

Out of town speculators are returning to the Bakersfield housing market, driving up prices but crowding out many local buyers

* ... REAL ESTATE: There is some good news and some bad in the local housing market. According to Coldwell Banker's Adam Belter (son of longtime Realtor Gary Belter) there are fewer than 550 homes on the market, a near all time low. That drives the prices up, which is good news, but it also has attracted a new wave of out of town speculators who are crowding out local buyers, often paying above the asking price. "We are in danger of becoming a community with more rentals than owners," he told me.

* ... COMING HOME: I had the chance the other day to catch up with plaintiff's attorney Daniel Rodriguez, who told me his 24-year-old son Marcos just graduated from Loyola University Law School in Chicago after receiving his undergraduate degree in business administration from the University of Arizona.  Marcos is coming hope to join his mother, Sylvia Lopez, to practice law. He is a 2005 graduate of Garces Memorial High School where he played basketball and football.  "I’m hoping to pry him away from time to time to help me in a trial or two," he told me.

  * ... BAD FORM: Steve Illingworth is the general manager of Urner's and a friend for almost 20 years. He's not prone to hype, which is why I am passing along this note about what appears to be some bad form on the part of a Kern High School District passenger van.  "I was driving west on White lane on Monday morning, Memorial Day, and was passed and cut off by a KHSD passenger van (no students on board). I observed the driver changing lanes multiple times to get by other drivers who were observing the 55 mph speed limit. The KHSD van was driving in excess of 65 most of the distance between Wible and Old River. She exceeded 70 mph at least once. After I gestured to her at a stop light to slow down, the light turned green and she honked at me and then tailgated me at a very close distance for quite some time. When I called the district on Tuesday morning to report the incident they were able to identify the driver but they could not answer why this employee was driving so recklessly or why she would be driving a KHSD van on a holiday."

 * ... RIP COOPER'S: Steve Montgomery joined the chorus of people lamenting the passing of Cooper's Nursery, which has served our community for so many years. "This past Saturday I picked up a tree for a friend of my wife's and while in the office handling paperwork I noted on the wall vintage signs from past businesses of the family. One sporting a three-digit phone number and a much newer one with a phone number starting with a two letter prefix. Remember those?"

* ... COVENANT: I stopped by the new offices of Covenant Community Services, the local organization that does so much good to help current and former foster children acquire the skills necessary to lead productive lives. The stunning new offices are located at 1700 North Chester in an old bank building that his been rebranded "Covenant Coffee: Hope Lives Here." It is now a full coffee house and sandwich bar, staffed by foster youth who have been trained by some of our community's most prominent restaurateurs and business people. Covenant's chief is Randy Martin, who told me a second location is being planned for Taft at the intersection of 4th and North streets. Drop by for a coffee sometime to help this worthy organization.

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