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Friday, March 13, 2009

US home foreclosures up 30pc in Feb

WASHINGTON: Despite halts on new foreclosures by several major lenders, the number of US households threatened with losing their homes rose 30 per cent in February from last year's levels, RealtyTrac reported yesterday.

Nationwide, nearly 291,000 homes received at least one foreclosure-related notice last month, up 6 per cent from January, according to the Irvine, California-based company. While foreclosures are highly concentrated in the Western states and Florida, the problem is spreading to states like Idaho, Illinois and Oregon as the US economy worsens.

"It doesn't bode well," for the embattled US housing market, said Rick Sharga, vice-president for marketing at RealtyTrac, a foreclosure listing firm. "At least for the foreseeable future, it's going to continue to be pretty ugly."

The rise in foreclosure filings came despite temporary halts to foreclosures by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and major banks JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Bank of America.

Freddie Mac, the US mortgage- finance company seized by regulators six months ago, said yesterday it needs more financial help from the government and raised doubts about its ability to become profitable again.

Freddie's decision on Wednesday to tap an additional US$31 billion (US$1 = RM3.69) in aid in return for preferred stock will raise its annual dividend payment to the Treasury to US$4.6 billion, a figure the McLean, Virginia-based company said may be beyond its means.

By AP, Bloomberg

1 comment:

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