Mortgage And Construction Job Losses From The Housing Bubble Pass 40,000Not only here in Arizona, but nationally, we’ve seen mortgage companies and real-estate related companies start to go belly up or start to liquidate their workforce. First Magnus/Great Southwest went bankrupt and lost their banking license, lenders are now being sued for the housing bubble blowup, and even one of the largest lenders, Countrywide, has started layoffs.

Not a great time to be in the biz, Yahoo agrees:

At the North Carolina offices of mortgage lender HomeBanc Corp., Archie Clark is the only employee left. But in a few days, he’ll be gone, too. When Clark finishes helping movers from the company’s Atlanta headquarters collect computers and other property, he’ll join the more than 25,000 workers nationwide who have lost jobs in the financial services industry since the beginning of the month — with more than half coming since last Friday.

More layoffs are announced daily. On Wednesday, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. closed its “subprime” mortgage business, laying off 1,200 workers at 23 offices; Scottsdale, Ariz.-based 1st National Bank Holding Co. closed its wholesale mortgage unit and cut 541 jobs, and Accredited Home Lenders Holding Co. added 1,600 positions to the heap. The night before, banking giant HSBC said it would close a main financing office and cut 600 jobs.

Since the start of the year, more than 40,000 workers have lost their jobs at mortgage lending institutions, according to recent company layoff announcements and data complied by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. Meanwhile, construction companies have announced nearly 20,000 job cuts this year, while the National Association of Realtors expects membership rolls to decline this year for the first time in a decade.

“It’s far from over,” said Bart Narter, a senior analyst with Celent, a Boston-based financial research and consulting firm. “The subprime lending collapse will continue to ripple through the financial sector.”

For five years, the nation’s housing market was booming and mortgage companies grew quickly, at times offering lucrative jobs to people with little experience. But as home values declined and interest rates rose in the past year, rising delinquencies and defaults — especially in subprime mortgages targeted at borrowers with risky credit — have pounded lenders who couldn’t keep pace.

“These kind of mortgage lenders just sprung up like mushrooms and grew like men,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive at Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “They staffed up and now you have a bust.”

Andy Roach didn’t foresee the turmoil when he joined Greenpoint in March. As late as June, the 25-year industry veteran thought the business of making “Alternative A” mortgage loans — geared for those with slightly better credit than subprime borrowers — was on a solid track.

But in July, he said, spooked investors stopped buying the securities the company sold by repackaging the loans. A little more than a month later, Capital One announced that Roach and about 1,900 of his colleagues across the country were out of a job.

“It was pretty much a free for all in the office, people taking paper, stuff HomeBanc wouldn’t need,” he said. “I don’t feel like HomeBanc did anything. It was a perfect storm of a bad housing market.”

Two of Clark’s friends have already landed jobs with Countrywide. Another found work with an affiliate of First Magnus, and was almost immediately laid off again.

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Comment by Noreel
2007-08-25 16:49:38

What jobs are all these ex-Real Estate folks going into?

2007-08-25 18:08:51

[...] yesterday, we covered an article titled, “Can Ya Spare A Job Brother?” which covered the job losses on a national level, but today, AZFamily is bringing it down to a more [...]

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