Sunday, January 27, 2008

Price per square foot down 24% from the peak.

Hat tip fred hooper.

December 2007 numbers based on price per square foot are posted at

The following data is a historic representation of average price per square
foot for single family residences sold between July 1994 and December 2007 in
Kern County.

While average home price is an interesting barometer, price per
square foot is more accurate in determining sales trends. Please keep in mind
that the numbers are derived from currently "worked" sales by the Kern County
Assessor's office and may not reflect recent activity

We are now at $138 per suare foot. That is 24% below the peak of $183 per square foot.

Also, sales volumes are so low you need to go back to February 1998 to find a lower month. This now represents the 16th month, out of the past 18 months where the price per square foot has been in decline (or flat).

These numbers do not include inflation or incentives, if they did the numbers would be even worse. If you look at the chart, the long term trend in price per square foot should be somewhere around $100-$105 per square foot.


hankmeister said...

Any idea where building permit activity is?
Thats ALWAYS an important indicator because it's the new supply. I've noticed the number of pending tracts is still going up on that neat map the city prints.

Bakersfield Bubble said...

I will see if I can obtain the latest report from Howdy Miller.

Also, the city has a link on their site. I will find tommorow (link is at my work computer) and post here.

I am actually getting very encouraged by these numbers, the speed of the decline is really surprising me. I think we could reach the bottom sooner rather than later and then it will be a good time to buy...

Bakonewbie said...

This all sounds well and good but as a soon to be buyer and am not seeing these prices yet.
I am looking for 2500+ sq ft, lot size over 10k sq ft, 3 car garage and in the NW area. (like Olive Park, Brimhall, Brighton, etc)

I am not seeing anything in these price per ft. A 2500 sq ft house should be $345k? I am not seeing close to that, the larger the house the lower the sq ft price.

I am waiting to buy, just moved here and am eye balling some of the new construction in OP. Those builders need to dump some of those. (but you wouldn't think so from the prices!)

When will the builders (and more importantly) the banks cut loose on these prices and actually SELL these houses?

Seems to me everything is sitting, prices are still too high, nothing getting better but no real price reductions?
What gives?

hankmeister said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hankmeister said...
(The path got cut off the 1st time sorry))

WOW! 36,806 Lots remaining
this is a long way (years?) from over!

Greed gives, lower prices are lower commissions and lower profits.

Bakersfield Bubble said...

Thanks Hank!

I know first hand many of these builders are getting desperate, many are trying to sell of other assets to keep cash flow going, including their own homes. If this spring and summer selling season is a bust (which I think it will be) they will be much agressive come the beginning of 2009...

WaitingToBuy said...


There's still a lot of sellers out there that think they can sell at the previous highs or slightly lower. They're literally delusional and will eventually either lower their prices or take their houses off the market. The same thing goes for builders, only they'll just lower thier prices and raise incentives. Be patient, like me!

Funny Circus Bears said...

The process of price drops is just starting, but it might be a mistake to be too focused on predicting the characteristics of this downturn based on the time frames of the last.

Focus on prices, not time frames.

It is possible that prices will waterfall down farther (percentage wise) and faster than in past housing crashes, and then begin another flat to up cycle in a shorter timeframe then previous cycles.

Matters seem to be unfolding quicker and more severely than the last time, but the mean reversion to the price to rent and price to median ratios are the fastball to focus on.

I'm not predicting, just alerting.

Lander said...

You beat out Stockton. Impressive.

WaitingToBuy said...

Well, Stockton has depreciated almost 2% more than do you like them apples!

I stumbled onto this

while on cnnmoney....2 very different opinions on how this will pan out in the next couple of years.

hankmeister said...

Any luck on the year end and/or monthly permit counts?

I'm not encouraged at all.. Looking at that Active Tentatives map it looks to me like there are a lot of groups looking to off load a lot of land and partially finished tracts. And thats just the stuff in the incorporated city, What about the unincorporated areas.. Wow. Talk about excess supply.
I need a drink.
And the bankruptcies have barely begun.

I remembered how to hard code a link to that maps page. Here : Bakersfield Planning MAPS

Bakersfield Bubble said...

The last report I have is from December 21, 2007.

Would you like a copy of that? If so - email me at and I will forward a copy.

Bakersfield Bubble said...

December permit information out today (1/30):

Dec 07 - 146 permits

2007 - 2,185
2006 - 4,238
2005 - 6,061
2004 - 4,997
2003 - 4,328
2002 - 3,563
2001 - 2,900
2000 - 2,405

Waiting4thebottom said...

Anyone see this 60 Minutes piece on Stockton?

Looks like the FBI may be slow to the game but they are finaly on the field too!

meathead said...

I've been looking for a place in Taft for about a year now and the prices are still unbelievable. 2,000-2,300 sf and ask prices are 360-380k. Was told by one seller that they see Taft becoming a 'boutique' community in the next couple of years. Should these prices be soooo much higher than comparable homes in Bako? Which one of us is on crack?

hankmeister said...

oh that's just absurd.
Only one thing drives a boutique market and that is amenities offered that the primary market dosen't offer. In Bakersfield's case the amenities people look for are school performance (which is eventually brought down by new people moving in.) and weather i.e. getting away from the heat.
Taft offers neither.
At those prices you're probably better off finding a cheap tear down in the location you want and building new. You'll have your pick contractors!

As to the other: 8 years isn't really enough to get a good trend line. If you graph it it's a classic peak, climbing till 2005 and a quick drop. I suspect the 1990s were much lower than the 2000s but

sum 30,677
mean 3,834.63
median 3,900.50