Here’s a pair of interesting articles from the Puget Sound Business Journal this weekend.
The [Puget Sound] Economic Forecaster, published for the last 15 years and used by companies and governments across the region, is predicting the four-county region will add just 5,900 jobs in the third quarter of this year, boosting employment a fraction of a percent to 1.86 million.
In the fourth quarter, the region is expected to lose 4,100 jobs — a 0.22 percent decrease from the previous quarter — ending the year with employment of 1.856 million.
That’s in contrast to the 2.9 percent annual growth rate in 2007, compared with 2006. The region added 51,500 jobs in 2007. Conway expects a growth rate of 1.7 percent in 2008.
“We’ve seen the economy all of a sudden go limp recently, largely because of the collapse of the housing and credit markets,” said Conway, who also is the senior member of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors.
Much of the slowing job growth can be traced to the construction and financial sectors, which have been shedding jobs statewide over the past few months.
I thought our strong local economy was based on Boeing and Microsoft, not this shakey construction and financial stuff that’s been causing so much trouble everywhere else. Well, that’s what they were telling us anyway.
But if you’re a landlord, fear not. “Experts seem comfortable with rent levels.”
…experts crunching local rental-unit supply and renter-demand projections seem comfortable with the rent levels expected over the coming year or two.
Even with a surge in unsold homes and condos competing in the rental arena, the consensus counts on sufficient rental-minded residents to keep vacancies and rents at landlord’s-market levels.
Residential real estate distress nationwide, in fact, is actually giving something of a boost to the local rental arena, observed veteran rental agent Michael Wilson, broker/owner at Windermere Property Management in Seattle. The relatively healthy local employment scene is still attracting newcomers, he said, “but they’re nervous about buying, so they’re renting instead.”
Meanwhile, the Seattle vicinity remains one of the most attractive markets for savvy apartment investors able to identify and provide what renters want today, added Bob Hart, president of Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Kennedy Wilson Inc.’s hyperactive KW Multifamily division.
Despite the slightly lower prices investors have been willing to pay for apartment properties here and elsewhere of late, Hart said, it would take a real economic calamity to significantly diminish renter demand.
Oh, good. Luckily, there’s no economic calamity on the horizon, whatsoever. Erm… wait…