From a homeowner’s standpoint, California Dreamin’ is becoming California Nightmares. And it has nothing to do with the recent fires that have swept across the southern part of The Golden State.
According to a Reuters news report, from July through September more than 72,000 notices of foreclosure (specifically, default against delinquent borrowers) were filed. This was an increase of more than a third from the prior quarter and a whopping 166.6 percent from the previous year.
Does this surprise me? Not really, unfortunately. I lived in California from 1996-1998, when I studied Mandarin Chinese and then Russian at the Presidio of Monterey’s Defense Language Institute while in the Army. California, is one of the most gorgeous states I’ve ever seen, but it is expensive. Gasoline was expensive, and housing is also. Back in the late nineties, a one-bedroom apartment in Monterey, facing away from the ocean and on a bad side of town ran about $500 a month. A few months ago, a former DLI teacher told me that the cheapest houses in the affluent Pebble Beach started at around one million dollars. I’d hate to think of how much the ritzy homes cost.
California also has a very high tax rate, and many spend hours commuting to work every day. Even in a home where both parents work at least one full-time job, it’s hardly surprising, I suppose, that some people fall upon hard times and make their mortgage payments anymore.