Monday, June 2, 2008

Foreclosure Casualties High Among GI Households

Soldiers' and sailor's families are hunkered down against foreclosure fallout that can be as much as eight times the national rate because of risks beyond the battlefield.

by Broderick Perkins
© 2008 DeadlineNews.Com

Deadline Newsroom - You think your town's real estate market is under siege?

Families of our nation's fighting forces are struggling much more against the scourge of foreclosures.

The rate of foreclosures in towns where soldiers and sailors live is increasing at nearly four times the pace of the national average.

That's more than during the Vietnam War, the Korean War and World War II, according to data from says foreclosure filings in 10 towns and cities within 10 miles of military facilities, rose by an average 217 percent from January through April this year, compared to last year. Nationwide, the overall rate during the same period was only 59 percent.

The biggest surge was in Columbia, South Carolina, home to Fort Jackson, where the Army trains recruits for combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. In Columbia, properties in some stage of foreclosure rose a whopping 492 percent from a year earlier. The second-biggest strike against homeownership was a 414 percent increase in foreclosures in Woodbridge, Virginia, next to the historic Marine Corps Base Quantico.

Foreclosure filings were up 300 percent in the cities around the Norfolk, Virginia Naval Base and the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base near Oceanside, California, RealtyTrac said. Foreclosures have more than doubled in Havelock, North Carolina, site of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.

Other military base cities experiencing foreclosure rates above 100 percent include Carlsbad and Barstow, California and Columbus, Georgia.

The Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act protects soldiers and sailors from losing homes for nonpayment of mortgages only while on active duty and for 90 days after they return home.

However, military families were frequently targeted as subprime mortgage customers during the housing boom because of their frequent moves, frequent calls to duty, and low military pay, making them more likely to have weak credit application credentials.

© 2008 DeadlineNews.Com

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Broderick Perkins, an award-winning consumer journalist of 30 years, is publisher and executive editor of San Jose, CA-based DeadlineNews.Com, a real estate news and consulting service, and the new Deadline Newsroom, DeadlineNews.Com's new backshop. In both cases, it's where all the news really hits home.

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