Home Building Blues
That means a loss of more than 153 billion dollars.
Quentin Allen was a subcontractor, constructing high end homes until the bottom fell out of the market. He says it happened in the blink of an eye.
"I had anywhere between 6 to 8 absolutely lined up and they went away all at once," said Allen.
Right now, there is a two year supply of existing homes for sale. Until that market is gone, new home construction will be lackluster. In the last year, new home construction has fallen by half. The State Homebuilder's Association says it has left many unemployed.
"Since last June, we've lost 81,000 jobs in Florida in the construction industry and that represents 52 percent of all the jobs lost in Florida this past year," said Florida Homebuilders Association Spokesperson Dave Hart.
A new state study says the value of property dropped six percent across Florida in the last year.
State economists say they expect it to be early 2009 before the market turns around. As a way to help the market, Governor Charlie Crist is pushing Amendment 5. The amendment, which is on the November ballot, trades a portion of property taxes for higher sales taxes.
"If this Amendment 5 were to pass in November, which I hope it does, people will look at that as a lot more than a tweak," said Crist.
But even the homebuilders are slow to embrace the tax swap, saying the amendment adds more uncertainty to an already uncertain market.
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