Doom, gloom and hard economic realities | SierraSun.com

Doom, gloom and hard economic realities

Jamie Bate

Doom and gloom is pretty much everywhere one looks: California is grappling with major budget deficits, home foreclosures are at record highs, government programs are getting cut; all this dire news, experts agree, can be tied to one culprit ” the housing market.

Gloom: Housing construction nationwide fell in November with single-family activity dropping to the lowest level in more than 16 years, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Doom: The slowdown, those experts say again, shows no sign of a turnaround.

It doesn’t take a look too far from home to see some doom-and-gloom foreshadowing. The Town of Truckee laid off staff in its building department last month.

As with the state and the nation, the numbers tell the tale.

New residential permits in town are down. Permits dropped from 326 in 2006 to 164 around mid-October. That resulted in a shortfall in the building department’s projected budget of $2.1 million to $1.2 million, hence layoffs and cutbacks. Doom.

Gloom.

Just how hard the other shoe is going to drop in the Truckee-Tahoe region is not totally clear. There’s been a thinning of the Realtor and mortgage industry herd, for sure.

Doom and gloom for some, but as more than one Sierra Sun reader has pointed out in the last few weeks, we’ve all been riding the housing market fast and hard the last decade ” from equity spending to risky lending.

“This is just business,” one reader commented on http://www.sierrasun.com. “Developers, real estate agents and contractors had the upper hand. When the prices fall low enough ” time to get a good deal on property (remember to cut the commissions as well as the price). When contractors get desperate enough ” time to remodel. Just the normal ebb and flow of commerce.”

That’s not doom and gloom, that’s reality. But reality has a way of being cold and hard.