Economist Mark Schniepp thinks the lowest point in the recession has passed and that 2010 will be a transition year for Ventura County.
Schniepp, director of the California Economic Forecast in Goleta, predicted a recovery for the county during his presentation at the 2010 Ventura County Real Estate & Economic Outlook held in Westlake Village on Feb 4.
“Last year we were predicting the end of the world,” Schniepp said at the conference. “2009 was horrendous. 2010 is going to be a transition year.”
Real estate has started picking up speed in both the commercial and residential sectors. Housing inventory levels are now back to where they were at the peak of late 2005, but Schniepp said the increase is likely due to distressed properties and government incentives for homebuyers.
“It’s very hard to predict this market because it’s been tampered with … it’s not a free market anymore,” Schniepp said.
Meanwhile, official estimates are starting to show positive month-to-month job creation in the county. The unemployment rate sank from 11.2 percent to 10.9 percent in December, and Schniepp predicts a recovery over the next three to six months.
“The labor market trauma is essentially over and will continue to rise from here,” he said.
Scott Anderson, senior economist with Wells Fargo, provided context with a national economic outlook, and Mark Boud of Real Estate Economics presented a five-year extended forecast that projected a bounce-back for Southern California housing.