Business Journal: Local Bankruptcies Up

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, July 18, 2008
Personal bankruptcies are up 88 percent in the first half of this year, and few debtors are showing up in court to plead for their homes. Most owe more than the house is worth. This means large numbers of uncontested bankruptcies are packing court calendars. Business bankruptcies are up 50 percent, and total bankruptcies are up 68 percent. The trend reflects the nation’s high debt, rising mortgage costs and falling home values, experts say. The wild housing boom here brought inflated prices that precipitated an even greater fall locally than nationwide. Bankruptcy lawyers are deluged, too. Some have long waiting lists, and others are turning away business. Several years ago, people who defaulted on home payments showed up in court to argue their house was worth more than the loan and could be paid off with more time. Now, more and more people simply walk away.