20080118 homes in san francisco
A row of homes line the street near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. - 


Scott Jagow: Now for the bad news. We got a report today on last year's home foreclosure numbers around the country. Ich. Marketplace's Janet Babin reports from North Carolina Pubic Radio.

Janet Babin: The RealtyTrac report shows two major scenarios that caused foreclosure rates to hit nearly 5 percent. One is driven by high unemployment, and that's affected places like Detroit that topped the list. For parts of California, Las Vegas and Florida, the problem is the busted housing bubble.

Economist David Wyss with Standard and Poors expects foreclosure rates will continue to rise this year:

David Wyss: The usual pattern is that foreclosures don't peak until about a year after the housing market turns around, and we don't expect the housing market to turn around until the second half of this year.

Wyss says foreclosures will continue to drag down the economy until the middle of 2009.

A Bush Administration bailout announced yesterday could help. It'll give some homeowners a 30-day foreclosure reprieve. But Wyss says that won't stop the fundamental problem with the market -- that people can't afford the homes they purchased.

I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.