U.S. foreclosures double in first quarter

A foreclosure sign in front of a house in Miami, Fla.

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: A report from RealtyTrac says foreclosures doubled in the first quarter compared to a year ago. One of every 200 households received a notice of foreclosure or bank repossession. Marketplace's Janet Babin has more from North Carolina Public Radio.


Janet Babin: We're beginning to know by heart what regions were hardest hit: Nevada, Florida, with parts of California leading the way. Stockton's foreclosure rate was more than six times the national average. The problem is spreading: Colorado, Massachusetts and Connecticut were also in the top 10. The numbers don't surprise many economists, including Mark Zandi at Moody's Economy.com, He says the lack of available credit will keep foreclosures high for a while.

Mark Zandi: Certainly throughout 2008, probably through this time next year. I don't think this foreclosure problem's going to resolve itself quickly. We are in that negative cycle, and it's going to be very difficult to break.

In some areas, government policies have helped by reducing loan rates or extending the terms to 40 years. But many homeowners still face a mortgage that's greater than the value of their house, and that can lead to foreclosure.

I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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