It’s been a week of less than great news for real estate. Flat pricing and declining sales numbers cast a pall over much of the housing industry. Home repossessions were up; home starts were down and rates shot up in the face of QE2 – the exact opposite of the Fed’s intended goal. Yet there were silver linings everywhere you turn.
First and foremost is employment, the Holy Grail to a better everything. California added 39,000 net jobs in October. While not a huge number, it marked the largest monthly increase since May 2006. Locally, the Ventura unemployment rate dropped to 10.5% from 11.1%. If that continues going forward, we will be singing the praises of the benefits of the Golden State, once again. The State revenue coffers will swell, demand for housing will grow and those that have recently bought or are buyers today, will look like geniuses.
Just yesterday I closed escrow on a 3100+ SF beautiful home in Thousand Oaks. The buyers, one who works for a chip maker start-up in Westlake Village and the other for Bank of America, both told me that their companies were hiring like crazy. The startup which just went public last week, had increased employment from 110 to 170 this year. These are the jobs that calm man’s soul: engineering, tech, manufacturing… music to my ears.
I was also in the mall yesterday to see Harry Potter. Strolling though, everything was already on sale. This is an indication on declining prices, clear evidence that the Fed’s easing plan is really a necessity, and that we should see a drop in rates in the near term. Interestingly was the number of help wanted signs. From Subway to Macy’s, it seemed everyone was looking for employees. Granted, these are not the tech jobs of the start-up, but our young need work too as do our less skilled labor force. All I know is this, there’s something good happening out there; it may be slow in coming, but it’s happening if you look and it warms the heart to think the better times are coming, and coming soon.