The LA Times reports from California. "John Rockey has been hanging drywall for 35 years, and he's seen it all in the boom-again, bust-again Antelope Valley housing market. By the time a new building spree peaked in 2005, Rockey's payroll had again grown to 200. Now, his Lancaster-based Progression Drywall Corp. is down to 50 employees, and he's got a serious case of deja vu."
"'This is looking like 1990 all over again,' he said."
"'A lot of people are panicking,' said Jaimes Gumaro, a North Hollywood real estate agent who has a listing in a Palmdale neighborhood dotted with homes for sale. 'They were expecting to have all this equity, and then it suddenly stopped. Now, they just want to get their money out of it. They're saying, 'I'm outta here.'"
"Foreclosure sales in Lancaster and Palmdale rose to nearly 200 between Dec. 1 and Feb. 28, an eightfold increase in a year. Notices of default more than doubled over the same period a year earlier, totaling more than 1,000 from December through February."
"'Now, we have all these folks who can't afford their homes and their loans are adjusting, literally by the thousands,' said Peter Terracciano, who founded his Palmdale brokerage in 1990, as the housing boom began to go bust."
"Rockey gets most of his work from large builders. 'Every customer has a different story every day,' he said, 'and they're not good stories.'"
"He recently learned that the builder of 300 new houses he'd been lined up to drywall in Rancho Cucamonga abruptly halted the project, costing Rockey $4 million in work. 'We're getting killed,' he said."