Friday, March 30, 2007

Going up and up’: Expert: No clear end to wave of foreclosures

By Jerry Kronenberg
Thursday, March 29, 2007 - Updated: 05:00 PM EST

Bay State mortgage foreclosures have hit a record high for the second straight month, and a top market watcher warns problems will “continue at astronomical levels well into 2007.”
“We keep going up and up and up,” said Jeremy Shapiro of, which yesterday reported 2,227 Massachusetts homes fell into foreclosure last month. That’s up 85.4 percent from February 2006, and also beats a previous record of 2,207 filings set just one month earlier.
Shapiro said several factors have led to rising foreclosures, the process under which banks seize homes for mortgage nonpayment.
He said problems include risky mortgage products, rising consumer energy bills and a weak housing market that makes it hard for homeowners in trouble to quickly sell houses.
Shapiro added that, while the subprime-mortgage industry’s recent collapse has prompted banks to tighten lending standards, “the market is still flooded with bad loans. We definitely see foreclosures going up through 2007.” said Boston led the state in home-seizure filings during February, with proceedings launched against 210 Hub properties.
Springfield placed second with 115 foreclosures initiated, followed by Brockton and Worcester (103 cases each) and Lowell (55 filings made).
In all, 21,644 Bay State homes have entered foreclosure in the past 12 months - an apparent all-time high.
Still, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress yesterday that he doesn’t think the subprime market’s woes will hurt the overall U.S. economy.
“At this juncture, (the) impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained,” Bernanke told a Washington, D.C., hearing, according to a Fed transcipt.

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