Back in the fall of 1999, Hutchinson Technology had a significant layoff (about 700 employees if I remember right), and so I went back to my records to see how the housing market in Hutchinson was affected. The first thing I found was that the vacancy rate of rentals increased significantly. Many of the laid off employees were renters who moved to new locations for new jobs.

What we saw in the sale of homes was that the number of sales dropped 15% from 1999 to the end of 2000. However, the average sale price from 1999 to 2000 increased about 3%. The general economy is different now than it was in 1999. So it might not be as easy for the HTI employees that were just laid off to find other employment as it was in 1999. So, I believe that we will find the real estate market in Hutchinson during 2009 to be challenging. If history repeats itsef, we may very well see the number of home sales drop from 2008 to 2009.

That being said, it’s important for those people who find themselves unable to meet their mortgage payments to know that there are other choices than just letting the home go back to the bank. Loan modifications and short sales are common place with the mortgage lenders today and they will work with homeowners to help them out during difficult times. We will be happy to explain the difference between short sales and foreclosures to you. Or call your lender and see what choices you have.