Friday, August 28, 2009

Sacramento's RealtyCrack Addiction

New York Times - Sacramento economy's addiction to realtycrack among nation's highest

From the Sacramento Business Journal:

An upswing in home prices and a surprising rebound in consumer confidence this week have economists buoyant about a possible turnaround in the national economy. But for Sacramento? Not so much. Sacramentans’ mortgage debt, the weakness of the commercial real estate market and a bleak outlook for California overall have tempered any bright spots for the local economy.
“We predict things to get a little worse over the next 12 months,” said Ryan Sharp, director of The Center for Strategic Economic Research in Sacramento, which forecasts the region’s economy. “Sacramento isn’t going to outperform California.”
Ezra Becker, director of consulting and strategy for TransUnion’s financial services group...said Sacramentans’ mortgage problems are affecting spending habits. “A lot of people took pay cuts, they were laid off or had to make other adjustments,” he said.
From the Sacramento Bee:
A major credit reporting company predicts mortgage delinquency rates will continue rising in the Sacramento area – with 12 percent of homeowners falling at least two months behind on their payments by year's end. That's nearly twice the national projection and a dramatic jump from just two years ago, when less than 2 percent percent of area homeowners' notes were delinquent.
Double-digit percentage unemployment and unpaid furlough days are increasingly catching up with homeowners who have "safe" fixed-rate loans, rather than the subprime loans that initially sparked the housing crisis. Mike Himes, director of NeighborWorks Homeownership Center in Sacramento, which counsels struggling and first-time homeowners, said his office is seeing more clients facing growing debt and making choices between house payments and other expenses. His clientele includes a growing number of state workers whose paychecks have been pared by unpaid furloughs. "There's a lot of money borrowed to stay in the house and keep up with living expenses," Himes said. "This is becoming more and more of a problem."

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