In Poor Housing Market, Workers Won't Relocate

Afraid of losing their investment in a down market, homeowners aren't moving out of their neighborhoods - even if their jobs do.

"Only 13 percent of job seekers finding positions in the third quarter of 2008 moved for their new job, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That is down from 15 percent in 2007 and 16 percent in 2006.

"We are seeing a lot of moves that are delayed or canceled because of the financial concerns people have," says Joseph Benevides, senior vice president of Paragon Global Resources, a relocation service. "The big impediment is the price of housing in the home they're leaving. The house is worth less than they paid for it or worth less than they owe. That is the principal reason relocations are being refused, certainly surpassing family."

Relocations are also taking longer. "The time has extended pretty dramatically in the last 12 months or so," Mr. Benevides says. That creates a need for duplicate housing as transferees maintain their existing home while accruing living expenses in a new location. Benevides calls it "a major cost issue."

To spur moves, some employers are offering "loss on sale" protection. If a house sells for less than the purchase price, a company covers the loss."

Full Story: Workers put down roots

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