Local economists say Bakersfield is experiencing an economic boom. They say the city is showing vital signs of recovery that haven't been seen in some time.
Economists say the boom has to do with multiple factors, including our housing market, the increase in construction jobs, and the city itself.
"We are a great place to do business," said Cindy Pollard, President and CEO of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce. "We have a very strong community. We have good relationships and a fairly easy government to work within here."
Pollard says all these signs point to a Bakersfield boom.
"I don't think there is just one factor that is driving the increase in our economy, but I think it's the combination of factors that is helping us grow overall, and that's what puts Bakersfield and Kern County in a better position than other parts of the state," said Pollard.
Bakersfield, along with other parts of the county, has been recognized nationwide for its economic vitality.
Between October 2011 and October 2012, more than 5,000 private sector jobs were added, including nearly 1,000 from the energy sector.
Last year, the Bakersfield/Delano area was ranked 19 out of the 200 best-performing cities in the country by the Milken Institute.
"We're seeing an increase in construction jobs. We're seeing an increase in construction activity. We're seeing a decrease in available industrial space, a shortage of homes. All of those are good signs that our economy is on the upswing," said Pollard.
Local appraiser Gary Crabtree says there are only 510 homes on the market. He says with the shortage of existing homes, new home construction is on the rise.
"Permits last year were over a thousand, a significant increase, and so we are now seeing a new infusion of new construction in the market at a price point of around $230,000 to $235,000," said Crabtree.
Crabtree says last February, the median price for a home was $130,000. This month, the price is around $161,000.
"If all conditions are equal, we can easily see another $20,000 to $30,000 median price increase in the Bakersfield market in the next twelve months," said Crabtree.
He says foreclosures and short sales have diminished greatly in Bakersfield, which is helping the market and pointing to an economic boom.