Bad news driving bad home market, say builder, banker

PORT ANGELES — Publicity about mortgage foreclosures is scaring people out of building or buying houses, a builder, a banker and two real estate agents said Monday.

“We do not need this,” said Kevin Russell, waving a copy of Monday’s Peninsula Daily News and its front-page story about local sawmill layoffs driven by weak housing sales.

“Why do we let the media drive our lives?” asked Russell, the head of the president of the North Peninsula Building Association as he addressed the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce’s membership luncheon at the Port Angeles CrabHouse Restaurant.

“Things are not as bad as it seems.”

They might seem bad, though, to the nearly 300 workers temporarily idled from the Inferfor Pacific and KPly mills in Port Angeles and nearly an additional 100 at Portac mills in Beaver and Forks.

Another mill, Port Angeles Hardwood, has temporarily cut its daily operating hours by 20 percent.

And the number of houses priced below $200,000 in Port Angeles has increased 24-fold, according to Brooke Nelson, an agent of Coldwell Banker Uptown Realty.

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