Employment Trends and ForecastsThe main long-term foundational driver in terms of housing sales volume and price support is a given region’s employment base.This region is estimated to have lost 54,842 non-farm jobs during Year 2009 – a 3.7% loss of the total non-farm job base, for the biggest loss since the 2002 dot-com bust. During 2010, an additional loss of 19,033 jobs is forecast. Thereafter, the impact from the national stimulus package will increasingly be felt, and combined with improved financial markets, should lead the national economic recovery towards regional economic expansion. By 2014, a healthy 2.8% growth rate is forecast for non-farm jobs in this region.After reaching historic levels estimated at 9.0% unemployment in 2009, it is forecast to peak at 9.2% in 2010, before gradually receding toward more normal levels thereafter.With the region’s strong diversity of employment and lower levels of speculative real estate, it avoided severe home price swings and fewer subprime mortgages, experiencing greater stability overall as reflected in less severe increases in unemployment compared to many other regions in the nation.Housing Construction Trends and ForecastsLevels of housing construction in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA MSA closely correlate with residential permit activity. Builders cut back sharply on construction after the housing bubble burst, causing the severe decline in permit activity in 2008. Residential permit activity is anticipated to drop to historic lows in 2009, and remain low through 2012.Permit activity is expected to be at extremely depressed levels for the following three years before gradually increasing to improved (but still low) levels by 2013.Gradual incremental growth in this region’s housing stock is projected due to limited developable land opportunities, the recessionary impact on limited funding, and feasibility for new home development. Incremental increases in housing stock will be small, far lower than historical patterns.Housing Price Trends and ForecastsDeclines in housing values during 2008 and projected for 2009 are substantial, but much milder than the degradation experienced in other major markets. It should be noted that most of the decline associated with the 2009 forecast occurred mostly during the 1st half, and further losses in housing prices will be modest through the remainder of the year. Prices will level out and stabilize in 2010, then rise 2.1% in 2011 with mild price appreciation patterns likely to be relatively gradual during the following years.Median home prices have fallen just 12.6% from their peak in 2007, to a level similar to the median price in 2005. Following a bottoming out in 2009, prices will stay flat in 2010. Mild price appreciation patterns beginning in 2010 are likely to be relatively gradual during the next few years, but will build momentum as the economy begins to improve, distressed inventory is absorbed, and economic expansion returns.By 2014, the median home price is forecast to increase a healthy 5.9% to a new peak level.