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Housing woes cut workers' mobility

The recession has not only cost millions of people their jobs, but it has limited the mobility of those lucky enough to find work.

Just 6.9 percent of job seekers who found employment in the third quarter relocated for the new positions, down from 13.4 percent a year earlier, according to a survey conducted by the Chicago career-services firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The survey tracked unemployed managers and executives. While they got more job offers because of a slightly improved employment market, they relocated less because of depreciated home values.

The 6.9 percent relocation rate in the quarter ended Sept. 30 was the lowest since the firm began tracking the rate in 1986.

“Continued weakness in the housing market is undoubtedly the biggest factor suppressing relocation,” said John A. Challenger, the firm’s chief executive. "Job seekers who own a home – even if they are open to relocating for a new job – are basically stuck where they are if they are unable or unwilling to sell their homes without incurring a significant loss.”

For most of Long Island,  the median closing price of homes rose a scant 0.6 percent to $377,250 in the third quarter, compared with a year ago, according to Miller Samuel, a Manhattan-based real estate appraiser.


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