By Kelly M. Resnick, Resnick Law Offices, Bay Area
One of the hottest trends in bankruptcy, and the Bay Area in general, is the real estate market. It is no secret that California real property values have come a long way back from those dreary years of 2008 to 2012. While they have plateaued recently in most of Northern California, values are still much higher and the incidence of 2nd Mortgage Lien Stripping in Chapter 13 proceedings and Short Sales is not as prevalent as before. However, according to the Washington Post of May 20, nearly 10 million homes in the United States are still ‘under water’, with values significantly less than the mortgages owed. This is equivalent to 18.8% of all American homes; about four times the historical average. Although this is an improvement to the 25.4% of homes, nationally, a year ago, it still means that a lot of homeowners are struggling. The Washington Post went on to speculate that homeowners are more likely to hold onto their homes because they either can’t sell or they’re waiting for the upward market to improve their equity. Because of this hesitancy, there are fewer homes on the market and their prices are being driven up because of the low inventory. To be sure, there are also regional variances: Chicago (44.9%), Tampa (42.3%), Las Vegas (50.6%), Atlanta (53.1%) and St. Louis (44.0%) are struggling with much higher averages than out here on the West Coast.