Shorter high-speed rail dashes hopes of a real estate boom for Bakersfield


    High Speed Rail train in the Central Valley rendering from the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

    BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - Bakersfield was positioned to be the midway point on the high-speed rail route from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

    But the news of a much shorter rail, connecting Bakersfield to Merced, comes at a cost to Bakersfield's real-estate market.

    "The current project as planned, would cost too much, and respectfully, take too long," California Governor Gavin Newsom said at Tuesday night's State of the State address.

    Now the dream of having an influx of San Francisco and Los Angeles home buyers in Bakersfield is no more.

    "We've lost the link. We’ve lost the link from San Francisco. We've lost the link from Los Angeles. So, realistically any, anyone that would be thinking about moving to Bakersfield because of affordability, that link is now gone," Gary Crabtree, a Bakersfield real-estate appraiser, said.

    Several realtors said they never banked on high-speed rail ever coming to town.

    "That wasn't priced into our market here, and now that it's been, the scope has been reduced, we feel that that's not going to have an impact either on prices," William Gordon, real-estate agent for Watson Realty ERA, said.

    Home values are appreciating at a rate of three to five percent year over year. The train's connection with Merced doesn't boast any extra gains for Bakersfield now, but could lay the groundwork for a longer route in the future.

    "Any news is good news," Sheeza Gordon, real-estate agent for Watson Realty ERA, said. "A bullet train in Bakersfield to Merced might not sound exciting right now, but it could be the beginning of something, you know, wonderful over time."

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