Negative Equity up in Fresno

November 24, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
The housing news is not good as we head into an all important holiday shopping season. The number of households with negative equity is up from August.According to the latest findings, home prices have fallen so much ... that more than five-million U.S. households are tied to mortgages at least 20% higher than the home's value.

Based on third quarter findings the housing industry in Fresno is worse than last quarter. One father we spoke to said he if doesn't receive help soon, he may lose his house.

Avelino Barcellos is a single dad with two kids and this beautiful house in Hanford. However Barcellos is in the beginning stages of foreclosure ... he lost his job reading water meters for the city of Hanford.

Barcellos said, "I haven't made three payments so they keep sending me letters and calling me."

So Tuesday he decided to seek help from the Fresno Community Housing Council which links people like Barcellos to resources to keep their homes.

Barcellos is afraid he may be paying more than his house is worth now. And he's not wrong in assuming that. New underwater mortgage statistics released by First American CoreLogic show nearly 48% (47.92%) or 74,000 homes in Fresno are in negative equity. That's up 4.3% from last quarter.

"It is a negative thing and it's too bad. However, you got to take it with a grain of salt," said Don Scordino with the Fresno Realtor's Association.

Scordino said most of these statistics are based on the original purchase price, and not what homeowners currently owe.

Scordino: "In the event someone has done a good job of paying their loan that's not going to reflect in those statistics."

But Scordino admits some people have made poor decisions refinancing or borrowing against their homes.

Scordino: "And they pulled money out to probably pay off credit cards, short term debt, put it into long term debt and got them into trouble.

Barcellos said he does not want to lose his house and become another statistic. After all when he was 14 he lost his right arm and shoulder in a freak farm accident. He overcame that.

Barcellos: "I never let it get to me. I'd be upset because of the disability, the marks that it made and I've proved them wrong."

Barcellos plans to continue receiving help from the Housing Council. Scordino said to get out of negative equity homeowners need to pay down their principle before making other large purchases.


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