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Home Foreclosure Listings Still Surging in Maryland

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By : John Cutts    99 or more times read
Home foreclosure listings are still surging in Maryland, based on figures from the Maryland Housing Department and a California-based foreclosure tracking firm.

According to Maryland officials, the poor economy, the high unemployment rate and budget-tightening measures in the state are prolonging the foreclosure crisis.

The Housing Department reported that almost 17,000 new foreclosures were filed in the last quarter of 2009, a 67-percent jump from the last quarter of 2008.

Ray Skinner, Secretary of the Housing Department, said that a lot of homeowners cannot afford their monthly mortgage payments now because the loan amounts they took out during the boom were based on income that included second jobs and overtime. When the economy tumbled, they lost these extra income sources.

Currently, the jobless rate in Maryland is 7.4 percent. Although lower than the nationwide rate, it has largely pushed one out of every four households in the state to delinquency.

In the fourth quarter of 2009, a total of 16,788 foreclosures were posted, marking a 13.4-percent jump from the third quarter. The foreclosure pace put Maryland tenth among states during the quarter.

According to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, home foreclosure listings could have been bursting with more properties if the state did not implement several laws to protect homeowners and reform mortgage practice.

The department said that it has carried out 88 regulatory actions, such as referring criminal cases that have resulted into convictions and cease and desist actions. The state counseling program has also helped almost 7,000 families save their homes.

Currently, state officials and legislators are campaigning for support for two proposals that would create more jobs: provision of low-interest loans to small business enterprises and reauthorization of the tax credit designed to encourage building rehabilitation in commercial districts.

State officials are also asking the federal government to advance $250 million to Marylandís unemployment trust fund so that benefits can be paid out on time.

According to Labor Secretary Alex Sanchez, the state has been doing its best to help distressed homeowners, but it can only help those borrowers who are still employed. Until the employment situation improves, the reality is that a lot of homeowners will lose their homes.

In 2009, more than 43,000 homeowners became seriously delinquent, with many of them staying in properties already in home foreclosure listings. The number marked a 34-percent jump from foreclosure actions in 2008 and a 129-percent increase from 2007.
John Cutts has been educated in the finer points of the foreclosure market over 5 years.

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