Metro Phoenix’s growing mortgage problem spreading

[Source: Catherine Reagor, Arizona Republic] — Metropolitan Phoenix’s foreclosure problem has spread.  Many Valley neighborhoods closer in, particularly in south, west, and central Phoenix, now have the highest foreclosure rates, according to an Arizona Republic analysis of real-estate data from the Information Market.  Foreclosures across metro Phoenix number 16,647 for the first half of the year compared with 9,966 during all of 2007 and 1,070 in 2006.

Last summer, when foreclosures were just starting to climb, the highest rates of home defaults were found on the Valley’s more affordable fringes.  The problem worsened, hitting a wider swath of homeowners who bought at the peak of the housing boom through subprime loans.  Although some of the Valley’s fringe areas such as Surprise, Anthem, and Buckeye continue to have high foreclosure rates, the problem has moved inward.  “It has become more of an equity problem than a subprime problem,” said Tom Ruff, a real-estate analyst with Information Market. [Note: To read the full article, click here.  What’s the foreclosure rate in your zip code?  Click here to find out.]

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