Monday, March 16, 2009

Foreclosures just keep on rising

Foreclosures just keep on rising

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Let's just hope President Obama's $275 billion plan to stabilize the housing market kicks in fast.

So far, the track record of these grand government interventions with eye-popping price tags has been spotty at best.

Just look at the latest RealtyTrac numbers, which point to a 30 percent, year-over-year increase in foreclosures across the country and a nearly 6 percent jump from just this January.

The increases come even amid a growing number of moratoriums on new foreclosures in various states, noted James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac, in a press statement.

Apparently Florida and New York, where moratoriums on foreclosures were recently lifted, saw a big surge in the number of homes put on the auction block.

That, alone, to me is enough to raise questions about the effectiveness of these moratoriums, which appear to be just delaying the day of reckoning while letting the politicians look like they are doing something.

There's one bright spot though. Foreclosure activity in Massachusetts fell more than 24 percent this February from the February 2008, and 12 percent from this January.

Of course, that drop-off appears related to a law that went into effect last year that forces lenders who want to foreclosure to give struggling homeowners a three-month shot at getting their finances back on track.

So don't be surprised if foreclosures here start rising again in a few months.

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