Monthly Archives: October 2010

Trouble In Paradise? You Are Not Alone

Two people on the shore of the Pacific Ocean

Image via Wikipedia

 

Ventura County is a fabulous place to live. The residents of The Gold Coast, as it is often referred to as, enjoy one of the best climates on Earth according to National Geographic. They also enjoy the advantages of living next to the Pacific Ocean, the Wine Country of Santa Barbara, and the metropolitan culture of Los Angeles. It is, without a doubt, one of the most desirable places to live in the world. We have it all! 

Unfortunately, this includes all of the financial pain the current Recession/Depression is causing a large percentage of families who live in beautiful Ventura County. Despite the candy-coated proclamations by some financial and political pundits who insist that The Recession has ended, the foundations of our families continue to be shaken, not by California temblors, but by the threat of losing their homes. 

A Policy Brief published by the Center For Responsible Lending in November 2009 cuts through the BS we hear from some of the Pollyannas in the mass media. The brief starts with the following: “Reckless and abusive lending practices have left California victim to a foreclosure crisis with catastrophic consequences for families, communities, and the state economy. Recent assessments and reports from policy analysts, industry insiders and the media suggest that the catastrophe is over: a bottoming of the housing and stock markets, the end of the recession, and the “green shoots” of recovery are all on the horizon. But the crisis is far from over in California. Indeed, with over one million mortgage foreclosures looming, continuing record levels of unemployment and a worsening state budget that will bring more reductions in state and local services, California is not yet out of the woods.” 

According to the brief, From the start of 2008 through September 2009, more than 375,000 families lost their homes. Nearly one million more foreclosures are projected over the next few years. Moreover, these foreclosures are estimated to cost Californians living in neighboring homes over $600 billion in lost equity. On top of this unemployment is high and rising, causing more existing homeowners to default on their loans, while making new home loans risky for lenders. The September 2009 UCLA Anderson Forecast calls the unemployment situation in California “ugly” and notes that the still-contracting state and local government sector only compounds the unemployment problems. According to the Forecast, although the state economy will be growing by 2011, it will not produce enough jobs to get the unemployment rate below double digits until the end of that year. 

How many more people and their families will suffer in Ventura County? According to Deutsche Bank’s Estimation of Percent of Home Borrowers Underwater (i.e. owe more on their home loan than their home is worth), 36.9% of Ventura County Home Borrowers were underwater as of the 1st Quarter of 2009. By the 1st Quarter of 2011, 47% of Ventura County Home Borrowers will be Underwater and in severe financial distress. Chances are, you are part of the 47%, and the chances are good, that you can prevent from drowning if you know where the life preservers are. 

If you don’t know where the life preservers are, stay tuned to this blog. 

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