Monday, June 4, 2007

N.C. housing slide continues

NorthCarolina saw 45,512 foreclosures in 2006, attributed to sudden unemployment, emergency medical bills and divorce, yes, but also to bad loans unscrupulously issued and, often, fraudulently maintained.

In Greensboro, housing has taken over as a driving force in the economy after the decline of the textiles and furniture industries, creating jobs in architecture, contracting and construction, sales, appraisal, finance and loans, brokering, home improvement, landscaping, interior design and specialties like roofing, window hanging and cabinetry, all working in consort to build, beautify and sell a product that we now have in abundance. Supply side is so strong it's outpacing household population growth, which according to the US Census Bureau went down by more than 4,000 people between 2000 and 2005.

Take a look around your neighborhood or out your car windows on your way to work or school. Chances are you'll see quite a few homes with "for sale" signs spiked in the front lawn, some of which have been there for a year. The market is seemingly glutted while new construction continues and many homeowners are unable to maintain their current mortgage payments.

In the last nine days, 28 new Greensboro foreclosures have cropped up on, and an additional 29 residences in the city have been listed as lost due to bankruptcy. That's almost 60 families who have lost their homes and must make other living arrangements; almost 60 homes that will sit vacant in neighborhoods, lowering property values and encouraging crime uti they're sold in this saturated market. And that's just today - by the time this editorial sees the printed page there could be 25 more.

In a recent post I talked about my impressions and what I saw on a recent trip to North Carolina. Not much news about housing has come out of N.C. this past year but the downturn is picking up speed there and reports are now echoing what I have already seen, a lot of stock sitting for sale and more being built.

N.C. is not considered to be a bubble area but the effects of a broader downturn will affect jobs and their economy and in turn housing.


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