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Monday, March 02, 2009

The five four states that sank the world economy, part II

More data show that it is not nearly the "national" home price crisis you may think.

[] The national foreclosure rate rocketed up 81% in 2008, to 1.8% (from 0.99% in 2007).

But only nine states had foreclosure rates above the average -- and just four had rates seriously above the average: Nevada at 7.4%, Arizona and Florida at 4.5%, and California at 4% ... while fully 41 states had below-average rates.

Subtract those four states and the median foreclosure rate in 2008 was only 0.90%.

(Interactive data via USA Today)

[] Home prices increased in 28 states during the fourth quarter of 2008, according to the federal OFHEO State House Price Indexes (click on "State HPI Summary"). In most other states price declines were modest.

But prices declined in Arizona by 2.91%, in Nevada by 2.66%, in Califoria 2.61%, and in Florida by 5.47% -- annual rates of decline from over-10% to over-20%.

[] A new study from the University of Virginia reports:

most foreclosures have been concentrated in California, Florida, Nevada, Arizona and a modest number of metropolitan counties in other states ... 66 percent of potential housing value losses in 2008 and subsequent years may be in California, with another 21 percent in Florida, Nevada and Arizona, for a total of 87 percent of national declines ...

... claims that overall housing values have tanked nationwide are exaggerated...

Potential losses in housing values from 2008 foreclosures in all 50 states - if values decline to 2000 levels - were less than one-third of the $350 billion provided to banks and insurance companies to cope with losses in mortgage-backed securities...

So ... when told that you should support the Obama mortgage bailout plan at a cost of $75 billion, because by bailing out your neighbor's mortgage you support the market in your area and so support the value of your own home, consider that it might be true if you live in California, Nevada, Arizona or Florida.

But if you live in Kansas, Vermont or the Carolinas, responsibly bought a home you can afford, and saw it rise in value during 2008, your share of that $75 billion will be going to bail out somebody who lives a long way from you.