The housing market is remaining relatively steady, so much so that my recaps are beginning to sound a little repetitive! We are enjoying a strong economy of late, and that always has positive ripple effects on housing. December 2019 numbers are in and real estate remains relatively steady, in spite of a slight uptick in job losses. Let’s take a look:
Home Sales, Prices, and Loan Performance
The Home Price Index numbers from CoreLogic indicate that nationwide, prices increased year over year by 4%, including distressed sales, compared with December 2018. Additionally, prices saw a month over month increase of .03% in December 2019 compared to November 2019. CoreLogic is forecasting that home prices will increase by 5.2% from December 2019 to December 2020.
This means that while home values are on the rise, the trend of high demand for moderately-priced homes won’t subside any time soon. This is good news for current homeowners as they enjoy solid home equity numbers, but this does create a market of high demand and short supply. This demand is not expected to slow any time soon, creating a tougher situation for first-time homebuyers attempting to purchase.
Statewide, West Virginia saw a slight increase in unemployment, rising .01 percentage point to 5.0% in December. This hasn’t had much of an effect on mortgage delinquencies, as the latest numbers show a decrease – the share of mortgages in West Virginia with payments 90 or more days past due fell to 1.1%. This may be associated with an increase in real personal income, which rose 0.1% in Q3 2019 and was up 0.5% over the same quarter in 2018.
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
2019 saw West Virginia enjoy the highest average employment in more than 10 years, according to a news release from the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce in January. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows the seasonally adjusted average employment for 2019 was 759,000, the highest since 2008.
According to Chamber President Steve Roberts, ‘the impressive data proves that West Virginia is now creating jobs. The economic policies that have been implemented to improve West Virginia are working.” With the strong growth and job creation happening, West Virginia is proving itself to be a great post-Great Recession comeback story.
Nurturing Small Businesses
Further proof that West Virginia is in the throes of an economic renaissance, the Secretary of State’s office has created the One Stop Business Portal. The goal is to streamline all the government services needed to start a new business under one umbrella – the Secretary of State’s office, State Tax Office, the Department of Labor, and WorkForce West Virginia. The main One Stop Business Center is located in Charleston, with satellite offices in Clarksburg and Martinsburg, offering immediate service for people to get started launching a business.
As the only state in the country with these four agencies under one roof, West Virginia’s aim is to support entrepreneurship and business and make the prospect of starting a new business venture in the state as easy and seamless as possible.
West Virginia Department of Ed Seeking Partnerships
Students in West Virginia often face a difficult stretch during the summer months when school is out. Without school meals, many experience food insecurity. The West Virginia Department of Education is seeking partnerships for its summer feeding programs.
In a recent Department of Education press release, the department invited county school boards, local government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations to participate in the Summer Food Service Program.
198,435 school-aged children depend on free and reduced-price meals at school – that’s about 76% of West Virginia students. Continuing to provide nutritious meals for children in the summer helps them return in the fall ready to learn.
Organizations interested in becoming a 2020 summer sponsor should contact Cybele Boehm or Samantha Reeves with the Office of Child Nutrition at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 304-558-3396. Summer sites will be announced in June.
Learn more: Summer Lunch Community Partnerships
Angie Gray, nurse director for the Berkeley-Morgan County Board of Health, received the “Governor’s Living the Dream” award in January for her work battling the Eastern Panhandle’s opioid crisis.
Gray’s message surrounding the need for more resources to help addicts resonates with the community and the people she helps. “We absolutely have to keep going, and I use these opportunities as much as possible to get people in power – and who make funding decisions – to listen,” she said.
Learn more about Ms. Gray’s MLK award and her efforts: Berkeley County Public Health Nurse Receives State MLK Award.
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