A foreclosure sign hangs in front of a home in Miami.
A foreclosure sign hangs in front of a home in Miami. - 
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SCOTT JAGOW: The nation's foreclosure problems may only be getting worse. RealtyTrac says May's foreclosures are up 19 percent over April. They're up 90 percent over last year. More now from Steve Tripoli.


Steve Tripoli: RealtyTrac says there were 176,000 new foreclosure filings nationwide in May.

Thomas Lawler is an independent housing economist.

Thomas Lawler: What the foreclosure numbers are suggesting is that many of those delinquencies are entering what you might call phase two. A lot of lenders are feeling that these loans are not easily salvageable.

Rising foreclosure rates translate into more downward pressure on home prices in many markets. Lawler says that in turn could affect the wider economy.

Lawler: Even people who are having no problem servicing their mortgage, if they think their home is worth a lot less, they're probably gonna think twice about the amount of spending they're doing.

RealtyTrac's numbers show pockets of housing weakness all over the country. And the pressure on homeowners is about to increase. Over the next four months, adjustable-rate mortgages worth $100 billion are scheduled to change — to what look like much higher monthly payments.

I'm Steve Tripoli for Marketplace.