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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Bankruptcies: Movin' on Up!

by Calculated Risk on 9/09/2009 09:04:00 AM

From Bloomberg: Wealthy Families Succumb to Bankruptcy as Real Estate Crashes

Wealthy individuals’ Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings jumped 73 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, according to the National Bankruptcy Research Center, a research firm in Burlingame, California.

More individuals or families with at least $1,010,650 in secured debt and $336,900 unsecured are using Chapter 11 of the U.S. bankruptcy code typically associated with business reorganizations. Falling U.S. home prices leave them unable to refinance or sell properties when they drop below the value of the mortgage, said Chicago bankruptcy attorney Joseph Baldi.

... Wealthier people filing for bankruptcy typically have large homes, two car payments and children in private schools, said Leslie Linfield, executive director of the Institute for Financial Literacy in Portland, Maine ...

“There are a lot of people with real estate, and they can’t afford it,” said Baldi ... “They can’t make the payments, and they can’t sell the house.”
emphasis added
Overall personal bankruptcies were up 36% in Q2 2009 compared to Q2 2008 - so high end bankruptcies are increasing twice as fast as the average.

This fits with the articles yesterday on Option ARMs and Interest Only loans that were used predominantly in mid-to-high end areas.