Monday, November 23, 2009

U.S. Housing Crisis Continues...

As real estate sales across Canada including the local market continue to show a positive trend with strong sales again in November, the same cannot be said for our neighbours to the south.
With the U.S. unemployment rate climbing, the housing crisis continues to show no signs of letting up with a record 14.4% of mortgages either in foreclosure or delinquent, this according to a recent story in the Globe and Mail. The U.S. unemployment rate is now at its highest level in 26 years and even those homeowners with conventional seemingly low-risk mortgages are facing the prospect of going into default. One in seven U.S. homeowners is either in default or at least one payment behind and millions more are under threat of losing their homes in the next two years.
As I have always maintained, a low interest mortgage is of little benefit if you are jobless and can't make the payment and a growing number of Americans are now finding themselves in this unfortunate position. Housing activity is seen as one of the benchmark indicators to economic health. Real estate sales and the related economic spin-off purchases that come with them play a significant role in driving the economy. The latest sobering statistics pertaining to the U.S. housing market would suggest they are a long way from a full economic recovery.
I couldn't help but notice lately a proliferation of car ads on U.S. television networks by dealers putting a significant emphasis on "credit" availability. Isn't the over-extension of credit how this whole mess started in the first place? Until some stability in the U.S. jobless rate is achieved and people can afford to meet their debt obligations, it is unlikely we will see any improvement to the U.S. economy overall.
As one area newscaster commented on this morning, General Motor's current debt load exceeds that for the entire country at the time of JFK's assassination in 1963. That really puts into perspective the depth of the "muck and mire" our neighbours to the south now find themselves in and it is going to be a long and messy climb back to a healthy U.S. real estate market and economy overall.

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Rick relocated to Collingwood from Toronto in 1985 through a transfer with Goodyear Canada. In 1987 Rick was recruited by a major client of Goodyear’s, managing their Canadian business based in Barrie before moving to Chicago in 1992 as Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Upon returning to Canada in 1996, Rick ran an industrial products manufacturing company in Stratford, Ontario. In 1998 Rick returned to Collingwood with his two children. Rick is a licensed real estate Broker with Royal LePAGE Locations North in Collingwood and holds his MVA designation (Market Value Appraiser-Residential). He is an active volunteer in the community serving several years on the Board of Directors with the Collingwood Chamber of Commerce as Treasurer, 6 years on the Board of Directors for the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® of which he is the Past President (2008) and currently serves on a committee with the Ontario Real Estate Association. Rick is a diverse executive manager with extensive experience in strategic planning, manufacturing, finance, human resources and quality assurance management.