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Moving Industries Fight to Improve Years After Great Housing Bubble Bursts

John Gill, a Washington, D.C.-based realtor still entertained fears concerning the future even though home prices were soaring, inventory was low, and the status of real estate agents and brokers bloated to an all-time high – a thing he fondly called “the crazy days of the early 2000s.”

Gill, a proprietor of H.A. Gill & Sons, a realty company serving the nation’s capital since 1888, say he is not going to say that he’s Mr. Prognosticator out there, since he believes that would be a little complacent. “But I think many people in our business ... thought, starting in the first part of 2004 and then particularly in the first part of 2005, which was our peak year, people were going, 'What is going on here?'

Those years, Gill believes, were an illusion, since so many of the new buyers were not well-qualified to acquire their properties.

More than a couple of years went by since the the Great Housing Bubble finally pops, boosting a credit and lending pinch that successively activated a full-on economic condition, the most destructive ever since the Great Depression. Still real estate agents like Gill and members of various other business enterprise dependent on the housing market are still feeling the difficulty.

“Everybody’s business is down,” Gill related to Fox News. “Real estate drives so many other industries….I recommend several home inspectors in our area, and to a man, every one of them said that their business is down.”

Freight companies have also been hit hard by the late-decade downtrend.

Linda Bauer Darr, president and CEO of the American Moving and Storage Association, the professional moving industry’s national trade association, recalled, “In 2006, we were at our post-9/11 peak, so business was really booming – and then things dropped off dramatically, right around the end of 2007.”

Darr figures the moving industry bled about 40 percent of its annual business and booted approximately 20 percent of the job vacancies it offered not so long ago. Federal statistics point out a resembling reduction, hinting that the transportation industry may have lost up to 300,000 jobs over the last two years.

First rate freight companies got the hang of making do with less, and to focus on key customers, to survive, most importantly against a blitzkrieg of college-aged competitors providing really low prices. “They had to diversify,” said Darr. “They started to do more in the commercial sector. They started to do more office moving.”

Amusingly, as home foreclosures increased and businesses back slide, storage and warehousing companies made a killing, because more individuals and entrepreneurs, while planning their strategies, required places to keep their stuff.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics maintained figures, which reveals more than 350,000 Americans worked as real-estate brokers and analysts in 2006, a record high; near the end of last 2010, initial counts reveal, that number had decreased below 200,000 for the first time in more than ten years.

The trend lines are similar for other types of job that are dependent on housing market. Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers present that in 2006, almost 145,000 Americans were hired as mortgage and non-mortgage loan brokers. Near the end of 2010, just over 60,000 accounted for making money that way – emulating a workforce that has been slashed by more than half.

In 2006, offices of real estate agents and brokers employed almost 375,000 people, however only about 284,000 at the end of last year. Similarly, offices of real estate appraisers hired over 41,000 people in 2006, but only 36,000 as of last month of last year.

Among the hardest hit was residential construction, casting off more than 300,000 jobs since January 2008.

On the other hand, according to BLS numbers, those who process and clear financial business deals has actually increased since 2006, however the total has decreased nearly 3,000 from the peak of 109,000 in 2007. Analyst express that toughness rest on the facts that even in times of slump and credit cutbacks, banks, lawyers, and others axial to the foreclosure process must pursue to keep filing the data and paperwork needed for such business undertakings to be processed and cleared.

Darr, of the movers’ association, said that business began to turn around in the last quarter of 2010, and that she and others in her industry are “optimistic” regarding the next twelve months.

Chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, Lawrence Yun, forecasted that foreclosures would stay high, however he envisions the entwined job market beginning, finally, to give rise to some positive results for the housing market.

Yun expects, with much hope, 2 million in job creation for this year. “It's far from being back to normal in the job market, but directional wise it is an improvement…. [And] improvement in the job market also provides that potential pent-up demand for home buying.”

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