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Ventura County Economist Predicts Recession May Not Worsen But Housing Will

September 17, 2010

As Riverside loan modification attorneys, we have read a lot of articles suggesting that the housing market may lose some of the recovery it has made before it fully recovers. So we were interested to see another such prediction from a Sept. 15 article in the Ventura County Star. The article focuses on predictions by Sung Won Sohn, an economist and a professor at CSU Channel Islands as well as a former Wells Fargo Bank executive vice president. Sohn said he believes the economy will grow, though it will likely be sluggish for the next six months. But he was less optimistic about the housing market in particular, suggesting that the market may dip again because of that bad economy and its accompanying high unemployment numbers. The remarks came from the Ventura County Housing Conference, held that week in Camarillo.

Sohn acknowledged that now is a good time to buy property, thanks to lower housing prices and very low mortgage interest rates. But he said buying property requires a down payment, a job and a good credit rating, all of which are rare during a bad economy. Furthermore, he noted that lending standards had tightened pretty significantly, which means fewer people qualify for home loans. This is a reaction to the previous loose standards, which got some lenders in trouble, but Sohn said his own experience with a refinance showed that lenders can be so strict that they could slow down a recovery. He believes a recovery will likely come from a significant improvement in unemployment numbers -- because unemployed people simply cannot make loan payments. Similarly, he said, more foreclosures are likely if California's unemployment rate remains at its current 12 percent (as of June).

Our Los Angeles County loan modification lawyers must agree. Throughout the housing bust, unemployment has always been a consistent predictor of foreclosure. This is especially true with long-term unemployment, which lasts longer than the typical loan forbearance offered by lenders. Many people profiled in the media have months' worth of savings they collected just in case they were unemployed, only to discover that it would take more months before they could find a job. After people in this situation run out of savings, they have very few options left. By contrast, folks who are still employed, but at a reduced income, are good candidates for loan modifications because they have steady incomes. One way to prevent the dip in the housing market Sohn predicts might be for lenders to aggressively seek to modify loans for people in this situation, rather than tighten standards so much that underemployed borrowers end up foreclosed anyway.

Howard Law PC aggressively represents clients who believe they can afford to stay in their homes if the lender is willing to consider a reasonable loan modification. We may not be able to help borrowers who are struggling with very long-term unemployment, but we will fight lenders who don't seem to distinguish between no income at all and reduced income. Many clients come to our Long Beach loan modification attorneys after they have struggled unsuccessfully for months to get a clear answer from their lenders. We have heard many stories about multiple requests for the same paperwork, months of delays and being kept on hold endlessly. In some cases, lenders drag the process out so long that there's no money left to start over when a decision comes back. We get better results, which we believe is in part because we are attorneys who can and will sue lenders for extreme negligence or outright law-breaking.

If you've gotten nothing from your lender but silence or contradictory answers, Howard Law can help. To tell us about your case and learn more about how we can help, contact us today at 1-800-872-5925 or send us a message online.