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Monday, October 22, 2007

More Homeowners Filing Bankruptcy to Halt Foreclosure

by Calculated Risk on 10/22/2007 09:20:00 PM

From the WSJ: To Keep Homes, More People Bet On Bankruptcy

As the nation's housing slump continued, consumer bankruptcy filings last month were up nearly 23% from a year earlier -- representing nearly 69,000 people, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute ... Overall, consumer bankruptcy filings were up 44.76% during the first nine months of this year.

In some areas where the real-estate boom was especially heated, the increase in filings has been even sharper -- especially for a type of bankruptcy that allows homeowners to halt foreclosures on their homes.
In recent months ... more homeowners are filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 13, which staves off foreclosure proceedings while the homeowner works out a plan to pay ...

In California, one of the nation's hottest markets during the recent real-estate boom, the number of nonbusiness Chapter 13 petitions in the second quarter more than doubled from a year earlier ... Over the same period, such filings increased nearly 40% in the northern district of Illinois, which includes Chicago, and 70% in Massachusetts.

"It's a mess," says William McLeod, a Boston bankruptcy attorney who says he is receiving twice as many calls from debtors as he did a year ago. "This is fed right now by real estate, and what's been this mortgage frenzy in the last several years."