New Study on Underwater Homes Promising

According to a recent news story published in The Seattle Times and based on research done by Corelogic of Santa Ana, California, “The number of homeowners underwater on their mortgages in the United States declined slightly during the first three months of the year. The data showed that 10.9 million homes with a mortgage, or 22.7 percent of such properties, were underwater at the end of the first quarter. That was a slight decline from 11.1 million, or 23.1 percent, in the fourth quarter.”

From the study, we can make several observations:

  • The decline occurred despite falling prices which can plunge borrowers underwater when they still own money for their property.
  • The data could indicate a skewed analysis because the pricing of homes is affected by foreclosure sales, which usually take underwater homes off the market.
  • Home equity loans affect the overall analysis on being “underwater”. In the study, it was found that thirty-eight percent of borrowers with second mortgages were underwater, compared with 18 percent of borrowers without home-equity loans.
  • What does this mean for Homeowners?

    Although the data does not give any clear indication the housing crisis has stopped devaluing homes, it is an indicator the crisis may have either stopped its downward spiral and leveled out, or it may be sign it is beginning to slow down with promising potential for the long haul. In either case, the information is promising.

    The housing crisis is one of the reasons more people have filed for bankruptcy. More middle-class Americans, people with high incomes, and people with higher education levels have resorted to bankruptcy filings. People who have lost income and found themselves underwater on a home feel they no longer can afford have been filing for bankruptcy in record numbers.

    According to the National Bankruptcy Center, consumer bankruptcy filings ticked up in February of 2011, but so far the rise has slowed from 2010. The American Bankruptcy Institute Executive Director, Samuel Gerdano, said, “Though consumers are striving to reduce their debt burden, high unemployment and a still-poor housing sector continue to fuel new bankruptcies,”

    Personal bankruptcies have fallen 8% compared to the same time a year ago. The data for the first couple months might indicate consumers won’t have a repeat performance of bankruptcy filings in 2010 where more than 1.6 million bankruptcies were reported, the highest level in five years.

    The reasons for the downturn in filings is partly from consumers saving more, paying down their debts, and having less credit available, which makes it harder for Americans to incur new debts.

    Although the data from the new housing research is promising, the data from the National Bankruptcy Center indicates it may be a while before the economy completely recovers from the effects of the housing crisis.

    If you are bankrupt and are considering bankruptcy, contact a bankruptcy lawyer. If you need of relief from the stress of debt and you live in or around the metropolitan areas of Harrisburg, Lebanon, or Carlisle, Pennsylvania, contact us at www.betterbankruptcy.com .We will help you find a bankruptcy attorney in your area who will answer your bankruptcy questions.

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