How about February? Is the real estate market finally picking up?
Northampton County deed transfers are down 15% in February, compared to the same period last year. In fact, the 297 deeds recorded in February is the lowest number since 1983, when 277 deeds were recorded.
Over the past five years, Northampton County's real estate transfers have declined forty-six per cent. If the first two months of this year is any indication, that trend will continue for a sixth year.
Ironically, Northampton County's thirteen-person Recorder of Deeds staff is the largest in County history. Recorder Ann Achatz tells me she thinks there were only 7 0r 8 persons in 1983, the last time things were this bad.
Fiscal Affairs Director Vic Mazziotti tells me no efforts have yet been made to cross-train employees to be able to work in different departments. Right now, when things are slow in the Recorder's office, it would make sense for workers there to learn the ropes in different row offices that get busier when the economy worsens. That way, the County can avoid making additional hires or laying people off.
Mazziotti agrees, and tells me a study is under way.