As further evidence of the housing market melt down locally, the Virginian Pilot (http://content.hamptonroads.com/story.cfm?story=136406&ran=109023&tref=po)is reporting that more people are trying to rent homes that will not sell (I have a former employee who moved out of state and has been unable to sell their home for over a year even after numerous price reductions - it's a gorgeous house in a great neighborhood, but no one is buying). Needless to say, the adverse financial impacts are spreading as realtors are seeing their incomes go into free fall, mortgage companies are laying off people right and left, title agencies and settlement companies are closing, and all the retail purchase triggered bu home purchases are dwindling. Welcome to the Chimperator's great economy. Here are some story highlights:
Will Kirby and his San Diego home emerged unscathed by the California fires. Now the Navy helicopter pilot will see if he fares as smoothly in the Hampton Roads housing market. He's rented out his Norfolk house - a four-bedroom, three-bathroom Colonial on Burleigh Avenue near Wards Corner - since he was transferred to California in 2005. His tenants will move out this month. The place has been listed for nearly three weeks. Kirby has already knocked the rent down $50, to $1,300. He's braced to go lower.
"There are an awful lot more rentals on the market," said Laura Wenslaff, the principal broker and owner of Home Rental Realty in Virginia Beach, "and they're not renting as fast as they normally would." The local real estate industry has no overall figures, but Realtors confirm a significant upsurge in house rentals. And the "for rent" signs are popping up in upscale neighborhoods, such as Bay Colony and Witchduck Point in Virginia Beach, that usually aren't fertile field for rentals.
It's at least partly driven by the sluggish housing market: Some homeowners, looking in vain for buyers for months, switch to renters. Others, seeking to offset their mortgage quickly, go straight for renters until the market rebounds. "I've been in the business for 23 years, and these are the most rental vacancies that I've had," said John Hanson, principal broker of Hanson & Associates Inc. Realtors in Virginia Beach.
Some of them have been on the market for at least two months," she said. "A few years ago, I don't know if we ever ran into the vacancy problem."The higher-priced rentals are the toughest to market, said Jackie Ellis Dunbar, an associate broker with Re/Max Allegiance in Virginia Beach. "Over $2,000, it sits and sits and sits," she said. Of course, Realtors acknowledge "for rent" signs can cause fears that an area is going downhill.