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Monday, August 09, 2010

East of San Francisco: 20% Unemployment, House Prices off Sharply

by Calculated Risk on 8/09/2010 08:49:00 AM

Alana Semuels at the LA Times describes the impact of the housing / credit bust on the communities east of San Francisco: Northeast of Silicon Valley, recession's effects are magnified. A few excerpts:

[B]uilding has all but stopped. Home prices in San Joaquin County have fallen 63% since the peak median price of $451,500 in November 2005, according to MDA DataQuick. [Note: these are median prices]. Prices in Contra Costa County are down 53% from their peak of $600,000 in April 2007. One in every 135 houses in Contra Costa County received a foreclosure filing in June 2010. In San Joaquin County, that figure is 1 in 104 — nearly double the California average.

Signs of a slowdown are everywhere. At Bethel Island, a Contra Costa County summer vacation area normally busy with tourists and fishermen, boats sit rotting in the Sacramento River. Nearby, a planned residential waterfront development has stalled. The builder completed boat docks before pulling out; an eerie remnant of the luxury once planned there. In Livermore, an Alameda County town, whole shopping developments are empty and foreclosure notices dot homes.
The unemployment rate in Stockton, the county seat of San Joaquin County, is 19.8%. It's 29% in the nearby hamlet of Garden Acres, higher than any city of its size in Southern California's Inland Empire.
During the boom, a large percentage of the people in these communities worked in construction or other real estate related fields - and for obvious reasons, the more an area was dependent on housing, the larger the negative impact of the housing bust.