Sunday, August 5, 2012

Local housing market is in a squeeze with bidding wars breaking out on homes and a man literally gives "the shirt off his back" to a homeless man in Oildale

* ... HOUSING: Last week I cited a report on the local housing market, indicating as many as 1,815 homes were on the market locally. That triggered responses from local experts saying the real number was actually much lower. Here's appraiser Gary Crabtree, one of the leading experts on our local market: "In June, there were only 545 homes on the market, not 1,815 and it’s down 32 percent from the same period last year. There is an extreme undersupply of active listings on the market when you consider that the number of active listings comprise 0.4 percent of the total single family homes in Bakersfield. The main reason for the discrepancy is that they count homes with accepted contingent offers on them as active listings. There are bidding wars on homes with 2 to 4 offers not uncommon, but prices are being held in check by the restrictive appraisal practices mandated by Fannie and the continued use of 'distressed' sales as comparable."

  * ... SPOTTED: This heart warming encounter was related to me by reader Darlene Stewart: "On a recent trip to the Oildale Post Office I observed a man with no shirt (possibly homeless) asking directions to the morgue, because his brother had just died. He asked a couple driving out of the post office parking lot about directions to the morgue. They in turn asked me and I directed them next door to Mish Funeral Home. The gentleman in the car, not wanting him to have to go into the funeral home without a shirt, took his shirt off and offered it to him but he did not want to accept it. The gentleman wouldn’t take no for an answer and just slipped it over his head. This is the only time I have ever witnessed someone literally 'giving the shirt off his back.'"

* ... SPAY-NEUTER: Good news for all you out there who care about our pets. Bakersfield will soon have its own high-volume, low-cost spay-neuter clinic, called Critters Without Litters. The non-profit group was founded by Joann and Larry Keller, the couple behind the successful “Fix Your Pit” voucher program, which subsidized the cost for over 1,800 pit bulls and pit mixes since 2010. The equipment is on order and staffing is under way for the clinic, which is scheduled to open this fall. The clinic expects to perform 35 to 40 spay and neuter surgeries a day. For more details or to support this program call Larry Keller at (661) 831-6000.

 * ... RADIO: Join me tomorrow at 9 a.m. on Californian Radio KERN 1180 when I will be chatting with Ryan Beckwith, the athletic director at Bakersfield College. We'll be talking about his priorities and the upcoming Gades football season. (file photo of Beckwith)

* ... SUBMARINE: Gene M. Bonas is a Navy veteran and former submariner who is part of a group trying to save the USS Clamagore (SS343), which he called the last Guppy III submarine now destined for the scrap heap. "The Clamagore, commissioned in 1945, has served as a museum since 1981. It played a critical role as a prototype sub and Cold War warrior in helping to develop the technology that truly won the Cold War. Now, the Clamagore needs a $3 million overhaul.  If we, as past and present submariners and Navy veterans, don't save the Clamagore, she will be sold to the highest bidder for scrap or sunk to make an artificial reef." If you want to donate, send a check payable to "Save the Clamagore" to George Bass, 110 River Birch Drive,  Salisbury, N.C. 28146. (file photo of the USS Clamagore)

 * .... BAKERSFIELDISM: From John Strand in Lake Isabella: "You might be a Bakersfield old-timer if you remember the 210-foot 'Eiffel Tower' which stood on the Pacific Telephone building at 20th and Eye streets for many years. It was part of the YJ radiotelephone system which preceded our current cell-phones. Back in the day it was the highest structure in Bakersfield.

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