Tue, 1 July 2008
July 1, 2008
Wavering real estate sales, power hookups and CMS enrollment growth are among the indicators cited.
By Christopher D. Kirkpatrickand Amy Baldwin/Charlotte Observer
Some indicators, including school enrollment, new electrical service hookups and reports from businesses that cater to new residents, point to a migratory slip.
Economists and others say the change, though just a hiccup and no threat to long-term prosperity, illustrates how
It could also ease traffic, pollution and a classroom space crunch, among other growing pains, said Douglas Shoemaker, a research analyst with UNC Charlotte's Center for Applied Geographic Information Science.
“A lot of towns have been overwhelmed by quality of life issues and providing services such as water and sewer,” Shoemaker said. “A lull would allow planners to get the upper hand again.”
The latest Census Bureau population data on newcomers isn't available until the fall. But institutions such as
CMS officials expected to add 5,200 students this school year, but only about 2,900 new enrollees turned up. It marked the first time in four years that CMS forecasts overestimated enrollment.
Duke says new electric power hookups in the
Gentle Giant, a Boston-area-based mover with a
The company also specializes in out-of-state corporate moves. “We've had a lot of really big jobs get canceled. There isn't the drive to invest as much.”
Vogel said real estate prices have fallen so far in the Northeast that homeowners can't afford to sell at a loss: “So they're putting off moves.” Side business from relocations is also affected – fewer newcomers move their parents down after them, for example, he said. “All that stuff used to trickle down.”
The region has benefited this decade from transplants who spend money, buy houses and work available jobs, said Mark Vitner, senior economist with Wachovia.
About 88,000 newcomers moved to
Federal Reserve economist Matt Martin said he expects this fall's census data that counts newcomers to confirm a decline. He said he's been hearing a collective buzz since the fall about the slowdown of newcomers.
He said a tightening local job market is adding to the falloff. “There are not as many opportunities at the moment,” said Martin, who works at the Federal Reserve branch in
Jobless rates for the
Vitner said he's expecting the newcomer slowdown to extend into next year, sapping tax revenues and local economic sectors that offer services “directly tied to population growth.”
Savvy + Co., a residential real estate company in
“Sometimes they just say, ‘We can't sell our house, so we are going to stay here,'” she said.
Suzanne Meyer, owner of The Welcome Service, which dispatches welcome baskets in the
Business “has slowed down a bit for us,” she said. Meyer's company targets affluent homeowners, those who buy homes with price tags upwards of $300,000.
Gina DeCarlo recently decided to leave
After more than 30 years in
But DeCarlo, 50, doesn't want to sell her home in
“I can't get what I want for my house,” she said. “The house has taken probably a $50,000 dump.”
She'd like to get $300,000 for the house she bought in 1982 for $100,000.
Martin and Vitner predict the slowdown of transplants won't create lasting economic woes.
“It's nothing to panic about,” Vitner said, noting that housing prices in hard-hit states should bottom out by the end of next year and those markets should loosen up. The flow of newcomers should pick up as those homes start to move, he said.
“I think this is all short-term,” he said. “I don't think the conditions that have driven
Population for nine-county
Note: For this story, the Observer defined the region as the retail trade zone counties of Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Catawba, Gaston, Iredell,
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