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May 18, 2009

Real Estate: Top Underwater Mortgage Cities

Posted in: Economy,Government,Real Estate

According to reports, 20% of U.S. homeowners owing more on a mortgage than their homes are Real_estate_underwater_citiesworth. The number of “underwater” borrowers is bad for them, but an opportunity for other first time home owners who were previously shut out of the process.

Real-estate Web site Zillow.com said that overall, the number of borrowers who are underwater climbed to 20.4 million at the end of the first quarter from 16.3 million at the end of the fourth quarter. The latest figure represents 21.9% of all homeowners, according to Zillow, up from 17.6% in the fourth quarter and 14.3% in the third quarter.

“What’s going on here is that you don’t have any markets that have turned around and you have new markets, like Dallas, that have joined the ranks” of communities where home prices have fallen, said Stan Humphries, a Zillow.com vice president.

What is interesting is the percentage of the top 10 “underwater” cities in the United States. As the Obama Administration looks to stabilize the housing market with tax dollars, why is it that the large percentage of underwater borrowers all seem to be in the same states? California, Florida and Nevada seem to be the worst hit.

Question One: Is the percentage of underwater borrowers inflated by some 4 or 5 states that have been hit worse than others where housing prices prior to the down turn in the economy were highly inflated? Not to make light of the situation, but does this mean that the government is going to help with car payments as well? The minute you drive off the lot in a new car the value of the car drops below what you just paid for it. Are bailouts next for car loans?

Question Two: Your home is an investment like a stock. Why would one stop paying their mortgage just because, at the present, the mortgage may be more the the worth of the home? Does that mean when home prices eventually come back in a cyclical manner that these same people who got tax payer bailouts through government incentive mortgage plans are going to pay back the difference?

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