No Holiday Cheer for OC’s “Real Estate Industry”

I’m sorry for the “Bah, Humbug!” news on Christmas Eve, but I just found some not-so-good news at Jon Lansner’s blog today. Appatently, the continued cooling of OC’s once-red-hot real estate market is causing job losses for all sectors, from mortgage lending to home construction, with ties to real estate. And as all these real estate related jobs are being cut, overall employment here in OC is being dragged down.

Take a look for yourself:

Orange County real estate and finance jobs fell last month to their lowest level since May 2005, as bosses slashed 11,300 jobs since November ’06 - the largest yearly drop since 1991. Lending jobs alone are off by 7,000, placing them at their lowest count since May 2003. And the state’s count does not track the self-employed or the off-the-books workers, which have been hard hit, too. [...] The real estate/finance drop pushed overall O.C. employment down 3,400 jobs in a year, worst decline since August 2002.

Youch, that’s got to hurt! My cousin’s partner lost her job at a mortgage company earlier this year, and she hasn’t been able to find a replacement job since. Fortunately for them, my cousin still has his construction job, and they can make do off of his salary alone. But what about all those who aren’t as fortunate as my cousin’s family? This latest news makes me think about how all these poor folks losing their jobs are spending the holidays.

So do you know anyone who’s being affected by the real estate slowdown? Do you know someone who has recently lost his/her job because of the slowdown? And how much more suffering will we have to endure before the market rebounds and people get jobs again?

I’m sorry again for the bad news on Christmas Eve. It just troubles me how the pain in the real estate market is spreading around so quickly. It just makes me stop and think as I prepare to turn off the computer and celebrate the holiday.

  2 comments for “No Holiday Cheer for OC’s “Real Estate Industry”

  1. Paul Lucas
    December 24, 2007 at 10:41 am

    My company laid off about 40 engineers, CADD operators, environmental Scientists, and even some support staff. People with PhDs are doing the work that was normally done by people with Undergrad Degrees.

    Thats how bad this market is and this is only the tip of the iceberg. My company is the head firm that is building the Great Park. Our client Lennar Homes is in a major slow down and last I heard is not even contemplating building any of the homes right now at heritage Fields. They are only even considering building tyhe commerical and retail porions of that project in an attempt to have some sort of income coming in from leases.

    Overall, the work on the Great park project has slowed down to a trickle in order to try and weather the storm that is the real estate down turn. In about a year, the maket will begin to bottom out but it has not done so yet.

    As you mentioned, the effects of this downturn are spreading across all sectors. Real Estate Agents, mortgage brokers, financial institutions, are only the Canary in the coal mine. Even services such as home improvement, landscaping, and handyman services are feeling the pinch.

    Tourism is down in area ssuch as Vegas, Disneyland, etc as people tighten their belts to ride out the hard times. The next wave to hit will be the fallout from the downgrading of bonds, pension funds etc that invested a significant portion of their capital in the sub-prime feeding frenzy.

    You will see a reduction in public services such as sanitation etc, as the municipalities reel from the drastic reduction in funds due to reassessed property values that come in much lower than the year before. That means fewere vendors for governement services, and thus fewer jobs in all sectors.

    The good news is that for those who saw this comng as home prices skyrocketed and chose to live prudently and within their means will be able to purchase a home at the real value of that property in about a year and a half. The new homeowners will have an inherrent discipline and lifestyle that will help prevent this in the future. But alas, it happened in the early 90′s and it happened in the early 2000′s (ot’s) so I imagine it will happen again ar9ound 2020. We Americans have short memories in matters like this.

  2. Andrew Davey
    December 24, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    Paul-

    How sad, but how true. This slowdown in real estate isn’t just affecting house prices… It’s affecting our entire economy.

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