Throw some salt on that housing wound

Pack up the car, get out of DodgeIs it time to pack up and get the hell out of Dodge? More and more signs are pointing to yes.

Besides the housing economy that screeched to a halt, the rising rate of foreclosures and sky high gas prices that Californians contend with, another report is telling us that life is going to get worse before it gets better in the Golden State. From the LAT:

Here’s more evidence that California is losing its struggle against recession: The state shed 20,300 jobs in January, more than the other 49 states combined for the month, a government report showed Friday.That comes on top of more bad news. California’s job engine sputtered nearly to a halt last year, adding just under 15,000 positions, or 0.1%, to the state’s payrolls, according to the Employment Development Department’s revised annual figures, also released Friday.

The state’s job losses in the first month of the year swept across several sectors, with construction, information and financial services among the hardest hit.

In Los Angeles County, strain from the Hollywood writers strike was apparent. Nearly 20,000 of the 75,800 jobs that disappeared in the county in January were in the information category, which includes film-industry and sound-recording workers.

Grrreat. Skip down:

A separate forecast issued Friday projected worsening doldrums for Southern California over the next six months. The index of leading economic indicators for the region declined by 0.7% in the last quarter of 2007, following a 0.5% drop in the previous quarter.The fourth-quarter decline was the steepest since the indicator was created in May 2000, the eve of the last recession, said Adrian Fleissig, the Cal State Fullerton economist who compiles the index.

“There is now no doubt that economic activity in the Southland has slowed down and is likely to continue to slow down in the next three to six months,” he said.

The state’s revised benchmark employment figures released Friday — enriched by more detailed and accurate data available in hindsight — were particularly troubling, said Esmael Adibi, an economics professor at Chapman University.

You know, I’m pretty secure in my job (I think, heheh) and I’m thinking Trinity is safe at his paper (for now…) but at the rate of things here, I wonder if we’re going to have to leave our home state to be able to do the most American of things — buy a home. Between the two of us, we make a pretty penny, and we’re pretty responsible with those pennies, in my opinion. We both rock used cars, haven’t bought a new computer ever (this iBook was a grad gift in 2002! so we’re actually saving up for a new iMac) and are planning to use our tax refund to make a dent in the one credit card we have a balance on.

But still. To remain responsible with our money, the biggest home loan we could responsibly afford is $250,000, maybe even $300,000, if we can whittle down our other debts. When was the last time you saw anything in the L.A. area, even a condo or townhouse, advertised for $300,000? People who bought in at the peak of the frenzy are being stubborn with their homes, too; no one seems to be willing to come down on price to even break even. And even if we were exclusively looking at foreclosures, the remaining balances on those foreclosed homes remain too high for our comfort zone, especially since many of those foreclosed homes sport two mortgages.

At this rate, California is going to start bleeding young professionals like myself if they don’t get these housing prices under control. I mean, who can afford to live here, especially when you’re just starting out?

2 thoughts on “Throw some salt on that housing wound

  1. shruti

    But…but…that commercial for California just shows people surfing and getting spa treatments and Gov. Arnold drinking wine and inviting us to come see what California has to offer!

  2. darleene

    Shruti, that’s for people we want to come to the state, spend money, then go home. LOL.

    You may be calling me neighbor yet!

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