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Job-related home losses mount

OaklandEvidence of job-related home loss comes via the Associated Press in "Delinquencies, foreclosures rise to almost 12 percent of U.S. home loans in 4th quarter" Thursday at latimes.com:

A stunning 48 percent of the U.S. homeowners who have a subprime, adjustable-rate mortgage are behind on their payments or in foreclosure, and the rate for homeowners with all mortgage types hit a new record, new data Thursday showed.

The reckless lending practices in states like Florida, California and Nevada that were the epicenter of the housing crisis are no longer driving up the nation's delinquency rate. Instead, the foreclosure crisis now is being fueled by a spike in defaults in states like Louisiana, New York, Georgia and Texas, where the economies are rapidly deteriorating and thousands are losing their jobs.

A record 5.4 million American homeowners with a mortgage of any kind, or nearly 12 percent, were at least one month late or in foreclosure at the end of last year, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported. That's up from 10 percent at the end of the third quarter, and up from 8 percent at the end of 2007....

"We're seeing increases in fixed-rate categories and that's where the problems are coming from," said Jay Brinkmann, the group's chief economist. "The foreclosure picture is more clearly driven by the jobs market."

Until the job situation gets sorted out, the problems with housing and mortgages are here to stay. What next?

-- Lauren Beale

Thoughts? Comments? 

Photo: A house in foreclosure in Oakland, Calif., photographed on Feb. 20 has an open house sign that's 3 months old. Credit: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press

 
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