Mortgage meltdown hits Tucson - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

Mortgage meltdown hits Tucson

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Posted: Monday, September 22, 2008 10:23 am | Updated: 10:48 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

TUCSON - A 44-month low in the median price of a house in Pima County means many homeowners owe more than their house is worth, according to data from the Tucson Association of Realtors.

According to TAR, the median price of a home in Pima County fell from $199,900 in July to $185,000 in August, its lowest point since January 2005.

Falling home values coupled with the subprime loan foreclosure crisis could leave one in three Pima County homeowners over the near term owing more on their home than it's worth, according to a report by the Southwest Fair Housing Council.

A lack of equity in a home means no cash to pay off bills, fund a child's college education, pay for a home renovation or move into a bigger house, said Richard Rhey, the housing council's director.

"The home has been a principal reservoir for savings and wealth," Rhey said. "That will be eliminated for a large number of families."

The nonprofit council is set up to track housing trends and help local governments enforce federal fair-housing rules.

In Pima County, from the first of the year through August, 4,841 homes were foreclosed, according to the council's report.

There were about 4,500 foreclosure filings in all of 2007, according to data compiled by Realty Trac, an online foreclosure listing service.

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