Being unemployed, under-employed, or afraid of losing a job is never easy. One of the first things many people do in these situations is batten down the hatches and minimize their spending. Certainly, the last thing on their minds is making a major purchase like a house. It’s just not a commitment that most people are willing to make when they lack confidence in their financial stability.
Although such decisions are made based on an individual’s job prospects, they have a ripple effect that impacts the broader economy, including the housing industry. Here are three key points that shed light on specific ways that the labor market influences the housing market.
Home Prices: A more secure employment market can help home prices stabilize, as fewer people are at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure. In addition, improvements in the labor market often open the door for more first-time homebuyers to join the ranks of homeowners. This can eventually help home prices improve.
Home Size: If you are running a business and need to hire someone, during a good healthy labor market you may need to entice your top pick. How will you do that? Perhaps by paying them a competitive salary. And when someone is paid a good salary, one of the things they often think about doing is purchasing a larger home.
Home Location: When the labor market is thriving, an employer may even have to lure in people who live outside the local area to take a job. This is one of the reasons housing markets are so localized. One state, city, or community might have a much better job market than a neighboring one. That’s why it’s very important to understand the labor
situation in your own state and city in order to really get a feel for the health of the housing market there.
The bottom line to remember in 2012 is that all real estate markets are local…and that means that there can be enormous variations across the country. In areas where employment is struggling, the housing market may continue to struggle as well. But employment is improving in many parts of the country, which also means the housing market in those areas will follow suit.