Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Big Ouch Is Headed This Way

The local market is starting to take the hit we have been afraid of. Still nowhere near the huge super bubble state drops but significant even with the local job cuts that our area is going to feel some pain. But with falling prices along with falling prices things are getting worse. One of the few numbers we have have seen increasing is for unemployment levels. This ever increasing number will only bring the others down. In an article in the Star Ledger titled Keeping afloat, the numbers are put into perspective. What things look like now and where they are going. Lets take a look -

Yesterday, the [National Association of Realtors] groups said existing-home sales fell 12.2 percent in New Jersey, as more homebuyers, discouraged by strict lending standards, steep declines in the stock market and a rise in unemployment, dropped out of the market. Nationally, existing home sales, which generally account for 85 percent of total home sales in this country, fell 7.7 percent during the third quarter.

Statewide, home prices fell 5 percent, to $312,437, down from $330, 396 during the third quarter, said Jeffrey Otteau, president of Otteau Valuation Group, a real estate research firm based in East Brunswick, which tracks the New Jersey real estate market.

Otteau said the conditions will deteriorate even further before getting any better.

The third quarter officially ended on Sept. 30. But over the past two months, the housing market in New Jersey has weakened dramatically due to mounting job losses and the slowing economy.

For example, in October alone, Otteau said the number of homes contracted for sale in New Jersey fell 28 percent, compared with the previous year, reflecting the weakening jobs picture and the souring economy.

There were two areas in New Jersey that did not have declines. The Trenton-Ewing area had a price increase average of 4.6%. And Hudson County prices rose just about 1% for quarter. But there seems to be consensus that our area will still have more declines before things start to turn around.

Things are bad and we have have yet to feel the full impact. Remember it takes months for the foreclosures to process through the system. Job losses in October will not reach full impact until next summer. New York and New Jersey unemployment rates are too low for many people to afford keeping up a mortgage, taxes and daily living expenses. People will fall through the cracks. Even with the foreclosure barriers the state is trying to implement will not be enough.

One thing that has often felt strange was reading the blogs and news from California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida, it often seemed like another world so removed from our lives. Watching the trash-outs in California seemed as foreign, incomprehensible, and removed as watching the was in Darfur. The bubble bogs have been bracing ourselves for hard times to come. But friends and acquaintances that live in our area often acted like it was another world and those affects were local and regional issues - not national or global.

Now we all know better.

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