The new president of Connecticut’s statewide Realtors association says slow job growth is still holding back significant gains in the housing market.
“We’re treading water here,” Debra Chamberlain, the newly-installed president of Connecticut Realtors, told me. “Places like Florida, California are coming back. Not so well here, consistently. It’s due in no small part to employment.”
The Connecticut Association of Realtors recently renamed itself Connecticut Realtors.
Certainly, Chamberlain said, there are pockets of strength, particularly Lower Fairfield County, where big gains on Wall Street are translating into big bonuses and brisk house sales. Southeastern Connecticut, hit by job cuts at Pfizer, is at the opposite end of the spectrum, especially for higher-priced homes.
Chamberlain, 53, knows the area around Pfizer well. Since getting her agent license 14 years ago, she has worked out of the same office of William Raveis in Mystic and lives in nearby Groton.
Recently, three out of four home sales Chamberlain has been involved in were short sales. Short sales are ones in which the lender agrees to accept less than what is owed on the property. Chamberlain said her experience is indicative of how many mortgages, at least in her area, that remain “underwater,” or below what the property is worth.
Chamberlain may have spent her career at one office, but she has some far-reaching experience as a longtime member of the association’s board of directors. She also serves on the board of the National Association of Realtors. She serves on the national association’s housing opportunity committee and is the Connecticut representative for major donors to the association’s political action committee.
Chamberlain’s term will run through the end of 2014.