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Decline in Housing Market Means Rise in Unemployment

August 6th, 2008 by Mike Vasilinda

State economists say property values in Florida declined 6 percent in the last year. The decline equals a loss of more than 153 billion dollars. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, declining values and fewer homes being built are adding up to higher unemployment.

Quentin Allen was a subcontractor, constructing high end homes until the bottom fell out of the market. He says it happened in the blink of an eye.

I had anywhere between 6 to 8 absolutely lined up and they went away all at once. Completely, Allen said.

Right now, there is a two year supply of existing homes for sale. Until that market is gone, new home construction will be lackluster. In the last year, new home construction has fallen by half. The state Homebuilders Association says it has left many unemployed.

Since last June, weve lost 81 thousand jobs in Florida in the construction industry and that represents 52 percent of all the jobs lost in Florida this past year, Dave Hart with the Homebuilders Association said.

A new state study says the value of property dropped six percent across Florida in the last year.

State economists say they expect it to be early 2009 before the market turns around.

As a way to help the market, Governor Charlie Crist is pushing Amendment 5. The amendment, which is on the November ballot, trades a portion of property taxes for higher sales taxes.

If this Amendment 5 were to pass in November, which I hope it does, people will look at that as a lot more than a tweak, Crist said.

But even the homebuilders are slow to embrace the tax swap, saying the amendment adds more uncertainty to an already uncertain market.

Posted in Charlie Crist, Housing, Property Taxes, State News | 1 Comment »

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