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Deadbeats or just struggling homeowners?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis February 4, 2011 09:52 AM

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Check out this story by the Globe's Jenifer McKim - it has some astounding stats on the number of homeowners who've stopped paying their mortgages.

It's currently up to 36,000 here in the Bay State, with some having gone for years without a payment. (The 36,000 are all behind at least three months on their payments, with a third behind a year or more.)

I hardly envy anyone in that position. And I challenge anyone who casually throws around the term "deadbeat" to really think again.

In more than a few cases, we are dealing with homeowners frustrated beyond reason with crazy banking industry red tape and who have simply given up. Is that the right thing to do?

Maybe not. But it's also a predictable human reaction when dealing with a corporate bureaucracy that seems unabashedly incompetent and hostile.

Profiled in the story is a Salem homeowner who stopped paying on the $360,000 house he bought in 2006 after his mortgage servicer refused to provide written proof he had been granted a mortgage modification.

"The majority of people aren't looking for a free house, they are looking for a fair deal," the homeowner, Richard Zombeck, told the Globe. "You come home every day expecting to be evicted. There is not a lot of joy in this."

On another note, pending home sales dropped 7.3 percent in January.

The Realtors are blaming it all on the snow, according to this State House News story.

I am typically skeptical of weather related excuses - they can be stretched to absurd lengths. Sales went down because it was too rainy or too hot.

In this case, though, I'll concede the Realtors may have a point. Just look out the window.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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