Miserable, not horrible

Los Angeles County foreclosures rose 41 percent last month from a year earlier, or one in every 253 households. That ranks L.A. 26th among all counties in California. By comparison, Merced recorded one foreclosure notice in every 73 homes, making it the worst county in the state. Riverside and San Bernardino counties ranked fourth and fifth worst. Nationwide, foreclosures filings rose 55 percent from a year earlier. As we've pointed out before, the RealtyTrac numbers can be skewed because they include both default notices and actual bank repossessions. This time out, there was a whopping 184 percent jump in bank repossessions, but only a 53 percent increase in default notices. That helps explain why there's such a large inventory of homes - and why prices keep going down. But as the L.A. numbers illustrate, the impact is all over the map. Here's the Business Journal story.

By the way, the WSJ's latest survey of economists affirms earlier projections of a barely moving economy between now and the end of the year (GDP growth of 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter). The 53 economists surveyed remain split on whether we're actually in a recession, but whatever you call it the outlook is for continued job losses, elevated inflation and the drop in home prices continuing into 2009. In the jargon of Woody Allen:

I feel that life is divided into the horrible and the miserable. That's the two categories. The horrible would be like, I don't know, terminal cases, you know, and blind people, crippled. I don't know how they get through life. It's amazing to me. And the miserable is everyone else. So you should be thankful that you're miserable, because that's very lucky, to be miserable.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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