Housing prices are on the rise. File bankruptcy before you get too much equity in your home.

Housing prices are on the rise nationally.  Some markets and some states still have depressed prices but they are on the rise in most areas.  Here in San Diego housing prices are rising rapidly especially in certain neighborhoods.  In San Diego some of that increase is due the economy getting better but that is not the only factor that is causing housing prices to rise here.

It is also a supply and demand problem.  There is a shortage in this city of supply of homes on the market.  I have been told by realtors that the shortage exists because homeowners are expecting housing prices to rise further so they are holding homes off the market.

It does not matter what the reason is for the housing price rise.  It is important that prices are indeed rising.  Soon many more people will gain equity in their homes which is normally a good thing.  But if you have credit card or other debts and you cannot pay them then you might be considering bankruptcy.

If it is true that you are looking to file a bankruptcy eventually then it might be the time now to move forward with it.  If your home continues to rise in price you will eventually have equity in your home again.  But this equity in your home could create problems for your bankruptcy filing.

If the equity rises past your ability to protect it with the allowable bankruptcy exemptions then your home may be in jeopardy if you file bankruptcy.  This is because the trustee could take it and sell it for the equity in it.  If you move quickly before this happens then you can usually protect your equity.

I am a San Diego bankruptcy attorney.  For further questions please visit my websites at www.farquharlaw.com or www.freshstartsandiego.com.  Or call my office for a free consultation or for any other advice about bankruptcy or debt at (619) 702-5015. Call now for free credit report and analysis!

For a free e-book on “13 things to do to prepare for your bankruptcy filing” please e-mail me at farquharesq@yahoo.com.

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A new wave of foreclosures is expected while housing prices decline for 6th staight month. What does it mean?

According to an article in Smart Money last month foreclosure sales are still flooding the real estate market in America.  35% of all home sales in January were foreclosed homes or for short sales.  This amounts to 91,100 properties in January and this number was up 29% from the month before.

The head of a real estate research firm predicted that this will cause a decrease in prices for homes in the next year.  Statistics have indeed showed that the median home price has declined 8.5% since June of 2011.  This same analyst predicted in the article that home prices are going to go down for a long time to come.

In the city of  Las Vegas foreclosures accounted for 59% of all sales and in Sacramento 50% according analysis done by RealtyTrac.  Other cities have similar statistics.  There is a huge number of foreclosures coming back to the banks currently and these foreclosures are then going back on the market for sale.  This flood of foreclosures will continue to press home prices lower in the future according to analysts.

This is exactly what an article in Yahoo Finance stated yesterday.  According to that article home prices dropped for the 6th straight month in a row.  The Case-Shiller housing price index reports that housing prices dropped in February in 16 out of the 20 cities tracked.  Atlanta, Chicago and Cleveland saw the worst declines while San Diego and Phoenix saw price increases.  This represents a 35% decline in home prices since the recession hit and home prices are now at 2002 levels.

Another article came out in Reuters that a new wave of foreclosures is expected.  In that article they predict that 2012 will be a bigger year for foreclosures than 2011.  Just when you thought it was over.  But it is not over.  Many in the article predict a growing number of foreclosures ahead.  They point to the statistics that show that many major banks and many major cities are showing a rise in foreclosures.

The Reuters article points out that the toxic mortgages are now gone.  Sub-prime, and balloon payments, and negative amortization mortgages have been foreclosed on or short sold and are no longer in effect.  Now we have regular mortgages that are being foreclosed on.  Mortgages with normal interest rates and fixed rates for 30 years.  Mortgages that are owned by regular working families.  Families who are extremely responsible but still can’t afford the mortgage.

These people are being stressed now.  They cannot afford the mortgages I argue because the price of everything is going up especially food and energy which are not counted in government inflation statistics.  That is what I argue in this blog http://bit.ly/HUNMNJ .

But it is clear that the housing/foreclosure is not ending but may get worse and be with us for some time.  I believe that we underestimated the depth of the crisis from the beginning.  I had realtor tell me years ago that this was serious.  At a realtors convention he was told to expect 10 years of depressed prices in real estate.

The amount of foreclosures is astounding and these all have to be put on the market at some time and they will depress it.  Indeed there appears to be a shadow market of these homes that the banks are holding off the market as I argue here  http://bit.ly/IUF0k0.  When these homes are put on the market instead of being kept off, prices could decline further.

So with home prices declining, foreclosures increasing, and prices of living increasing we have a perfectly bad storm it appears.  The government printing of money and the resulting devaluation of currency is increasing prices of food and energy so that people can’t afford their homes.  This stresses their finances so they cannot afford their homes which leads to more foreclosures and more homes on the market.  We seem to be in a downward spiral economically.  Don’t expect housing prices to go up anytime soon.  It is also a good time to take care of unneeded unsecured debt do you can afford to pay for your home.

I am a San Diego bankruptcy attorney.  Please visit my websites at www.farquharlaw.com or www.freshstartsandiego.com for more info. about any of these topics.  Or call my office for a free consultation at (619) 702-5015.  Call now for a free credit report and analysis!

For a free e-book: “13 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO TO PREPARE FOR YOUR BANKRUPTCY FILING” please send a request by e-mail to: farquharesq@yahoo.com.

San Diego unemployment rises in March as does American food stamp usage. What does it all mean?

Here in my city of San Diego unemployment has increased in March much to everyone’s surprise. This was detailed in an article in the San Diego Union Tribune.  This fact certainly calls into question whether there is a recovery occurring at all in San Diego.  According to the article San Diego would need to add 20,000 to 25,000 jobs per year but only 6,700 are currently being added.  This is far short of what is needed for a full recovery according to some economists.

This article also explains that California unemployment is on the rise.  California unemployment rose to 11% in March.  18,000 jobs were created in California in March and that may sound like a lot but 2 million people still are unemployed in the state.  They also mention in the article that nationwide there seems to ba a decrease in unemployment.  I would argue thought that this nationwide rise in employment looks good but must be balanced against other factors. (See here for my blog on unemployment is rising when the governement says it is not).

For instance the Wall Street Journal reports that 34 million people are on food stamps currently and that is an all time high.  This represents an increase of 70% since 2007 and 1 person in 7 is now on food stamps.  A 70% increase is significant and calls into question the state of the economy as a whole.  Are these people receiving food stamps unemployed or are they people with jobs? Are the employed (or underemployed) getting on food stamps because they can’t afford to buy food with their salaries?

Another article in Investor’s Business Daily tells of an increase in the number of people on disability.  Are suddenly getting more disabled in this country or is something else happening?

I believe something else is happening.  First of all more people are out of the work force than ever according to recent articles.  As they come back into the work force this could increase unemployment.  But also you have this massive over-spending by government and “quantitative easing” or straight money printing.  As I argued in a blog (http://bit.ly/I9XMnU) about governments like the Weimar Republic who choose to print money,  massive money printing can only lead to massive devaluation of the currency.  This devaluation in turn leads to a huge increase in the prices of foodstuffs.

We are seeing prices go up dramatically in the past two years especially in the area of food and energy.  I also blogged about this phenomenon some time ago  ( http://bit.ly/IahMZf).  These increases in food have even caused farmland to increase in prices.  There was a story today on Fox Business how farmland is currently selling for very high prices when it just recently used to be very cheap.  It only makes sense that this is happening because food is a commodity that is increasing in price so it will become more profitable to produce in the future.  It is also true that food and energy are increasing but government inflation figures do not reflect this because they conveniently exclude food and energy from inflation measures.

So it appears that prices are up and currency values are down and unemployment is sideways.  It is also true that government figures usually don’t reflect real world conditions.  This is why I belive that people are getting on food stamps and disability.  Even if they are employed full-time they cannot afford the ever higher prices for everything today.  Even two income couples are struggling especially if there are kids.

The underemployed and unemployed are even in a worse condition than the employed.  But employed people on food stamps in these large numbers is a new phenomenon in America.  It used to be that you got off food stamps as soon as you got a job.  I suspect that is not the case today.  People are staying on food stamps no matter what because they simply can’t afford the ordinary costs of life.  The food stamp statistics reflect this reality.

My clients who I see in my office every single day also reflect these changes in society.  They come to see the bankruptcy attorney  to get out of their old debt which they certainly can’t afford.  They can barely afford their current expenses as commodity prices increase but their wages do not.  For my clients bankruptcy can eliminate the old debt and make it easier to go forward.

We do not know if there is a recovery but there are other economic factors out there affecting everyday people.  With prices on the rise and the government not admitting it I expect to see many more bankruptcies in the future out of necessity.  It is not a matter anymore that is even subject to debate.  Many of my clients do not anymore debate whether it is worth it to file bankruptcy.  It is literally a case of having enough food on the table.  Food that will undoubtably cost more next month.

I am a San Diego bankruptcy attorney.  Please visit my websites at www.farquharlaw.com or www.freshstartsandiego.com.  Or call my office for a free consultation at (619) 702-5015.  Call now for a free credit report and analysis!

For a free e-book: “13 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO TO PREPARE FOR YOUR BANKRUPTCY FILING” please send a request by e-mail to: farquharesq@yahoo.com.