Recession Impacts

The following is an article from the Chicago Sun Times.

Census: Recession had sweeping impact on US life

The article confirms much that we all probably know.  People are having to make difficult choices.  As earnings dropped and cost of living climbed, people had to find other ways to travel (there have been many stories about how the highest transit ridership figures were experienced last winter).  The economy forced many people to stay put.  In years past, when one region had an economic downturn, people would head for greener (and warmer) pastures.  Florida and California have clearly experienced as bad an economy as any of us.  And, the message has gotten out loud and clear that these regions do not have any excess jobs available.  In addition, the housing market grew so soft, that people who may have been interested in trying their luck in another region could not do it as they were tied into housing they could not sell.

An interesting statistic is the one that notes there was an increase in the percentage of people reporting they have never been married.  It appears that this has a number of implications for housing.  First, there is some suggestion that, as the economy soured, more people chose to stay home with their parents as the only means of having a stable living arrangement, other stayed in school longer.  This suggests that there could be pent up demand for housing as the economy starts to recover.  But, what type of housing?  Normally, these people would have fed the market for smaller rentals as they started out in life.  It is possible that this demand could remain when the economy turns around.  However, it may be even more likely that many will seek housing only when they are more financially secure and could jump right into home-ownership.  If they learn any lessons from this past economic downturn, they might also look at home-ownership as a life-long investment, and not a short-term strategy where they might out-grow the first home they buy.  It will be interesting to see h0w things shake out.

I will continue to watch to see if any more localized data becomes available.  As of yet, none of this interim census data has included Barnstable County.

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