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These stories in recent days show the trend – the recession is creeping into our area:

Foreclosures hit Northwest homes, business
More than 50 percent increase over 2007

“Today’s foreclosures are a combination of some lingering subprime problems, combined with a slower economy, said Mark Steves, president-elect of the Thurston County Realtors Association. Other factors include the inability to refinance because the home has dropped in value or is worth less than the mortgage itself, he said.

Median home values in Thurston County have not dropped sharply but they were 5 percent lower in November 2008 compared with November 2007, according to Northwest Multiple Listing Service data.

Steves, who has worked in real estate for 30 years, is an agent in the Yelm area. In the past few months, he said 40 percent to 50 percent of his business has been fueled by distressed properties properties already owned by a bank, or in which lender has agreed to sell the house for less than the value of the mortgage, also known as a ‘short sale,'” quoting The Olympian.

Business owners should brace for local recession
“Economists from the University of Puget Sound recently told a host of Pierce County business leaders to expect a local recession to begin during the second quarter of 2009…

Meanwhile, Thurston Countys Economic Development Council recently released the first-ever Thurston Economic Vitality Index at its annual Forecast Conference. This index uses a five-year time frame from 2002 to 2007 to capture what the economy has been like and will possibly be like in the future.

‘While we have not been completely insulated from recent downturns in the national economy, local and external observers alike suggest we wont be hit as hard or impacted as long as other areas due to our diverse and relatively-stable employment base and ability to attract investment,’ read the report,” quoting the Pierce County Business Examiner.

Winter weather affects December home sales
“The Thurston County housing market felt the seasonal effect of winter weather last month as sales dropped 33 percent between December 2008 and December 2007, the Northwest Multiple Listing Service reported today…

For single-family sales, the data show:

Sales fell 31 percent to 170 units from 247 units

Median prices fell 3.65 percent to $249,975 from $259,439

Listings fell 4.44 percent to 1,591 units from 1,665 units

For condos, the data show:

Sales fell to four units from 16 units

Median prices rose 11.65 percent to $206,466 from $184,927

Listings fell 17.6 percent to 61 units from 74 units,” quoting The Olympian.

Rentals make solid investment
“Amid the rubble left behind by last years subprime storm are thousands of former homeowners who lost their residences to foreclosure. More, still, either no longer qualify for a mortgage or are wary of signing on the dotted line during such an pronounced economic downturn.

Though Washington has escaped at least, so far the dramatic economic fate of the Sun Belt and Rust Belt states, the South Sound has tallied its share of foreclosures. And the local homebuyers market is continuing its recovery good news for those who own rental property in the area,” quoting the Pierce County Business Examiner.

KeyBank national call center in Tacoma to close
“KeyBank’s call center in Tacoma is being closed, and bank officials say 200 workers face layoffs this year.
The Cleveland-based bank’s regional president, Tom Spilman, tells The News Tribune hr spoke with the affected employees Tuesday. Spillman says other call center jobs will be available to them in Cleveland or Buffalo, N.Y., and other kinds of jobs may be available in the Puget Sound area,” quoting McClatchy Newspapers.

Shane Co. seeks bankruptcy protection

Underhill’s Furniture to close all four stores
End of the line for family-owned, third-generation furniture business in the Seattle area.

2009 Legislature under way
“Chopp [Seattle Democrat Frank Chopp, Speaker] has made clear House Democrats wont accept some of Gov. Chris Gregoires proposed budget cuts,” quoting The Olympian.

Ed. Note: What surprises are in-store from Olympia?!

Posted by Steve on January 13, 2009 at 7:15 am | Permalink

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