A new dynamic appears to be emerging on the housing front. Heretofore, foreclosures were strongly correlated with where the mania had been most acute. California, Florida, and Arizona in particular showed dramatic declines in prices. But now as those markets have corrected to a considerable degree, foreclosure activity is now starting to be a function of increasing unemployment.
Cities in the U.S. Sun Belt states of California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona dominated the record foreclosure spree in the first half of the year, but distress in other regions emerged as joblessness spread, RealtyTrac said on Thursday…
Mortgages have failed the fastest in the areas with the greatest overbuilding, purchases by speculators and reliance on riskier loan products to improve affordability.
But the source of the mortgage trouble has swung from lax lending standards to unemployment.
Some of the areas with the most severe foreclosure activity have started to show improvement as price cuts and first-time buyer tax credits lure purchasers…
More than 20 percent of areas with above-average foreclosure activity were in Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arkansas, Illinois and South Carolina in the first half of the year. That shift points to growing unemployment more than to fallout from subprime and adjustable-rate loans, RealtyTrac said in its midyear metropolitan foreclosure market report.
While total foreclosure activity kept rising, “some of the markets that had the highest saturation of foreclosures over the past few years have seen declining rates, while new markets like Provo, Utah, and Boise, Idaho, have seen large increases,” James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, said in a statement…
“As unemployment rises, we are seeing a change in the financial profile of the people seeking our help,” Suzanne Boas, president of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta, said this week.
“We are serving an increasing number of people who work in professional services and skilled trades,” she said. “These people have maintained solid incomes their entire lives, but are now in financial trouble and are reaching out for counseling to help avoid foreclosure.”.