Can Being Late on Your Mortgage Make You Sick?

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By S. Mitra Kalita

The foreclosure crisis may be making Americans sick.

A study published online yesterday in the American Journal of Public Health surveyed nearly 2,500 homeowners over the age of 50 who were asked if they had fallen more than two months behind on their mortgage payments since 2006.

Of those who had, 22 percent developed depressive symptoms over the next two years, compared to only 3 percent of those who weren't delinquent. Twenty-eight percent reported food insecurity -- meaning that they were hungry or did not have adequate access to food in their households -- compared to 4% for those who weren't behind on their payments.

And about a third said they were not taking medications properly due to cost, compared to 5 percent of those who weren't delinquent.

Read the full story at The Wall Street Journal.

More from The Wall Street Journal:
Higher Mortgage Caps: Back From the Dead?
Bottom Line on Rentals: Expect to Pay More
Behind the Numbers: The Housing Crash Continues

Also see:
HAMP Mortgage Modification Program Still No Help
The Mortgage Fix That Can Save the Economy


11 PHOTOS
Cities Where Homes Will Not Sell
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Can Being Late on Your Mortgage Make You Sick?

Time on market: 137 days
Change in # of listings: -20.32% (53rd largest)
Median list price: $159,900 (104th highest)
Foreclosure rate: 1 in every 747 homes

Browse homes for sale in Tallahassee, Fla. 

The number of homes on the market has decreased more than 20% in Tallahassee over the past year. Despite the drop in supply, home prices have only increased slightly, with the median list price increasing 3.5% in the same period. The city saw a huge spike in loan defaults recently. In August, defaults increased 81% from the month before. According to the Tallahassee Democrat, this is causing the foreclosure rate to increase.

Time on market: 138 days
Change in # of listings: -26.47% (28th largest)
Median list price: $209,500 (49th highest)
Foreclosure rate: 1 in 238

Browse some of the mega-mansions for sale in West Palm Beach, Fla.

In September, the West Palm Beach region had more listings than all but a handful of major U.S. cities. However, that number is actually down more than 26% from a year ago. The median home listing price has shot up more than 10% since September 2010, the 11th greatest increase among the 146 cities reviewed in the report. According to Alex Ferreras of the Palm Beach Post, banks are cutting down significantly on the number of homes they foreclose in the region. In 2010, the foreclosure rate of 1 in 238 was one of the highest in the U.S.



Time on market: 140 days
Change in # of listings: -15.88% (77th largest)
Median list price: $250,000 (29th highest)
Foreclosure rate: 1 in every 3,907 homes

Browse some homes for sale in Asheville, N.C.

Asheville is located in the Appalachian mountains and is regularly listed has a top vacation destination by travel magazines. The region has one of the highest median home list prices in the country, at $250,000. The Asheville region had an extremely low foreclosure rate of 1 in 3,907 last year compared to 1 in 605 in the U.S.

Time on market: 142 days
Change in # of listings: -30.77% (17th largest)
Median list price: $169,900 (87th highest)
Foreclosure rate: 1 in every 366 homes

Browse homes for sale in Punta Gorda, Fla. 

Punta Gorda is one of several Florida cities where home values have fallen more than national average. According to housing experts, most of this is due to overbuilding before the housing market collapsed. Punta Gorda is located on Florida’s west coast between larger cities with significant housing problems — Tampa/St Petersburg and Naples. Home ownership in Punta Gorda is high, among the top ten cities in the U.S. This may be due to in part to the inability of people to sell their homes.

Time on market: 147 days
Change in # of listings: -35.66% (11th largest)
Median list price: $199,900 (51st highest)
Foreclosure rate: 1 in every 541 homes

Browse homes for sale in Savannah, Ga.


Savannah has seen one of the largest decreases in home listings in the country, with a drop of more than 35% in one year. Despite the drop in inventory, home prices declined by 5.19% over this same period. There are currently only 1,484 listings in the city. The median time on the market for these listings has fallen more than 50% in the past year. This is the greatest drop in the country.

Time on market: 147 days
Change in # of listings: -11.95% (100th largest)
Median list price: $184,900 (69th)
Foreclosure rate: 1 in every 771 homes

Browse homes for sale in Reading, Pa.

Reading is in the old industrial section of Pennsylvania, which runs between Allentown and Harrisburg. The city has nearly 90,000 residents and is among the poorest cities in the U.S. median income for the city is only $28,098. Reading topped the list of cities with more than 65,000 people with the highest proportion of residents living in poverty, according to the New York Times, a fact that will continue to hurt Reading’s housing market for the foreseeable future.

Time on market: 150 days
Change in # of listings: -20.36% (53rd largest)
Median list price: $164,900 (96th highest)
Foreclosure rate: 1 in every 935 homes

Browse homes for sale in Gainesville, Fla. 

Like many cities in Florida, Gainesville has a large condo market. The Gainesville Sun reported that in August “condo sales were up 13 percent, with 51 sold in August.” That gain was almost certainly due to favorable prices. Condo median prices dropped 13% to $69,400 from $79,500, according to the paper. It may take years for the Gainseville real estate market to recover. It is inland from one of the hardest hit regions in the U.S. — Florida’s Atlantic coast, which includes cities where home prices are down more than the rest of the country.

Time on market: 156 days
Change in # of listings: -37.83% (6th largest)
Median list price: $369,000 (12th highest)
Foreclosure rate: 1 in every 356 homes

Browse some of the jaw-dropping estates for sale in Naples, Fla. 

One out of every 356 homes is foreclosed in Naples, Florida — nearly twice the national average. Last week, Republican Representative Kathleen Passidomo filed the Florida Fair Foreclosure Act. The bill is designed, she says, to streamline the foreclosure process. According to real estate attorney Kevin Jursinski, who was quoted on NBC-2, the problem with Naples foreclosures, is that “It’s the fact that we had an issue with so many foreclosures at one time that so swamped the system that it made it hard for the judges and it taxed the system quite a bit.” In the past year, the median home listing price has increased by more than 23%, the third biggest jump in the country.

Time on market: 161 days
Change in # of listings: -14.00% (91st largest)
Median list price: $174,950 (82nd highest)
Foreclosure rate: 1 in every 207 homes

Browse homes for sale in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Myrtle Beach sits in Horry County, an area that has more than triple the number of houses for seasonal use than any other county in North Carolina, according to The Sun News. The areas with the highest vacancy rates are along the ocean, where there are many second homes. According to a Realtor quoted in the paper, foreclosures are more common in the oceanfront, vacation properties because homeowners who cannot afford the mortgage are more likely to give up a second home than their primary residence.

Time on market: 164 days
Change in # of listings: -21.31% (48th largest)
Median list price: $244,250 (36th highest)
Foreclosure rate: 1 in every 4,504 homes

Browse homes for sale in Wilmington, N.C. 

Despite the fairly soft housing market, economists at University of North Carolina Wilmington predict that the local economy is set to recover. Three of Wilmington’s counties are forecast to grow 2.2% next year, ahead of the national forecast of 1.6%. As evidence, the median list price for a home in the city has increased 2.76% in the past year. Wilmington, like Asheville, has an exceptionally low foreclosure rate — just 1 in every 4,504 homes were foreclosed upon in September.

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