Shore Communities Feel the Impact of Gov’t Shutdown

Shore Communities Feel the Impact of Gov't Shutdown

The government shutdown, now in its fourth day, has had a widespread impact on South Jersey and the Congress seems to be paying little heed to the problems the shutdown is having on the lives of its constituents. If they did, they would have passed a resolution to fund the government.

One local businessman, Richard Rixey, owner of the Rixey Real Estate Agency in Cape May Court House, said, "People have to take off the blinders and see the real world. They don't watch the news anymore. We are not insulated from the problems in D.C."

A number of civilian employees at the Coast Guard base in Cape May can attest to that. They have been furloughed for the past four days — without pay. Most of the 1,500 FAA employees who work at the William J. Hughes Technical Center at the airport, along with 1,500 contractor  employees, also have reportedly been furloughed.

Half a dozen federal technicians from the Field Maintenance Shop 4 (FMS4) in Cape May County have also been furloughed, among others in the area, because of a dysfunctional House of Representatives. In addition to the personal pain felt by these individuals and their families, caught in the congressional crossfire, our whole area is feeling the economic impact of their decreased spending power. 

"If you don't think the shutdown affects us here in Cape May Court House, think again," Rixey said. "If you are in the process of selling or buying a home, you are more than likely on hold until it is resolved — especially if you have applied for a government-backed FHA or Rural Development loan. Even after the shutdown is resolved, it will take the government agencies days or maybe weeks to begin to process the backlog of mortgage applications.

"This affects everyone from the home seller, home buyer, mortgage rep, real estate buyer agent, real estate seller agent, the title company and the local contractors, too numerous to mention, who are waiting to get paid for their services. The list of those affected goes on and on, so if you think this is only a D.C. problem, you need only to ask someone who is trying to get to the settlement table right now."

Rixey, who was born and raised in Middle Township, noted that "the real estate industry has been feeling the pinch for eight years now. We started to see the market decline right after Hurricane Katrina in September 2005. It took a  couple of years to affect our local market with foreclosures, but when it did, it hit hard. To this day, families are still losing their homes. This has been the longest market downturn in my lifetime and South Jersey is lagging behind the rest of the country in the rebound — if, in fact, there is a rebound with all of the conflicting stories on home sales we are hearing."

In effect, Rixey is saying this shutdown could not have come at a worse time.