The American Cities Sunk by Underwater Mortgages

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10. Bakersfield-Delano, California
> Pct. homes underwater: 48.75%
> 12-month home price change: -9.58%
> Homes built 2000 or later: 21.1%
> Unemployment: 14.4% (tied for 11th highest)

Nearly 50% of the homes in the Bakersfield-Delano metropolitan area are currently underwater. In the past 12 months, homes have lost nearly 10% of their value, much more since the housing market first collapsed. Distressed sales have accounted for more than half of total sales in the past year, likely because of the difficult economic conditions in the region. To make matters that much more difficult, the area has an unemployment rate of 14.4%, the 11th highest in the country.

9. Lakeland-Winter Haven, Florida
> Pct. homes underwater: 50.33%
> 12-month home price change: -4.59%
> Homes built 2000 or later: 25.2%
> Unemployment: 12.1% (30th highest)

The metropolitan area of Lakeland-Winter Haven is located in central Florida. Due in part to the development of retirement communities across the state, more than one in four standing homes have been built since 2000, compared to a national average of just 14.9%. Like most of the rest of the state, the region has been hit hard by the recession. To date, more than half the area’s mortgages are underwater, over 21% of housing units are vacant, and a total of 35.06% of home sales in the past year have been distressed.

8. Port St. Lucie, Florida
> Pct. homes underwater: 50.89%
> 12-month home price change: -4.68%
> Homes built 2000 or later: 25.2%
> Unemployment: 12.8% (22nd highest)

Nearly 18% of the homes sold in the Port St. Lucie region in the past 12 months have been properties that were originally foreclosed upon. Just about 35% of home sales in the past year have been distressed sales. The region has an unemployment rate of 12.8%, the 22nd highest in the country, and a median household income of $41,346, nearly $9,000 lower than the national average.

7. Vallejo-Fairfield, California
> Pct. homes underwater: 53.29%
> 12-month home price change: -10.5%
> Homes built 2000 or later: 14.1%
> Unemployment: 11.6% (40th highest)

Despite the area’s exceptionally high median household income, the Vallejo-Fairfield metropolitan area’s housing market is suffering on all fronts. Home prices have dropped 10.5% in just 12 months. Just over 14% of homes in the area were built in 2000 or later. Additionally, 60.57% of total sales in the past 12 months have been distressed sales, the second greatest rate among metro areas on this list.

6. Modesto, California
> Pct. homes underwater: 53.30%
> 12-month home price change: -9.22%
> Homes built 2000 or later: 18.3%
> Unemployment: 16% (6th highest)

In the past 12 months, home prices in Modesto have dropped more than 9%, one of the contributing causes of the 53.3% of the region’s mortgages to be underwater. As proof of the high level of foreclosures that has occurred in recent years, more than 40% of last year’s home sales were properties that had been foreclosed upon by a lender and resold. Of the 372 areas considered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Modesto has the 6th highest unemployment rate in the country. At 16%, it is nearly double the national average.