Home Front

A blog about the economy and the Sacramento-area real estate market.

March 18, 2010
Can't move from Sacramento for work; house "upside down"

I heard an interesting report yesterday on NPR about a dilemma that's greatly different from the norm in this recession. The host talked to a university professor who said thousands of people normally move in recessions to where the jobs are. But that isn't happening in this recession because people can't sell their houses. They're under water, owing more than the house is worth, and are simply "trapped" there.

That made me think: there must be thousands here in this empire of 13.1 percent unemployment, state furloughs and more pending ruinous budget cuts who would cut their ties in a heartbreak for somewhere that offered them more promise. They're trapped in a house here.

That seems like an interesting human story about the side effects of this nasty housing crisis in Sacramento. Maybe it's more than just not being able to find work elsewhere. People might want to move back home where their families live. I talked on the phone last week with a homeowner who needs to move back to India for awhile to take care of his aging parents who are having health problems. He's underwater and trying to figure out how to do this without having to just walk away from his house. In a regular market he would sell the house. In this market he is trapped.

How many of you are out there like this? If you'd like to talk about it for a feature real estate story in The Bee please get in touch. 916-321-1102. Or write me at jwasserman@sacbee.com

Thank you.

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