Job loss and unexpected medical problems are the key factors cited by Pennsylvanians faced with foreclosure over the last 12 months. The survey, conducted for the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors, questioned 500 Pennsylvanians who have had their homes foreclosed or narrowly avoided foreclosure in the past year or are currently going through the foreclosure process.
Pollster Joel Searby of Strategic Guidance Systems says 57% of those surveyed said their household experienced a job loss in the last 12 months..."but there is a 'Plus 1' factor...many people lost their jobs but it wasn't just job loss that forced them into foreclosure. It was job loss and something else that was unexpected and caused them financial strain."
That something else could be unexpected medical bills....47% said that was a factor; or other "unexpected bills"...36% cited that as a reason for being foreclosed upon.
Searby says 91% of those surveyed said they attempted to contact their lender about a solution to their pending foreclosure but 48% said their lenders were "not at all" willing to work with them. 30% of those who worked with their lender said it made no difference, 19% said it made things worse.
But Searby says the majority were unaware of the federal and Pennsylvania programs available to assist them. He said that's "more than surprising, that's alarming."
According to Searby, those surveyed in the Pittsburgh area were in many ways similar to those across the state but many had good loans......."Nearly 50% had prime loans while only 14% had subprime loans....which tells us one very important thing. This is not all about people having bad loans and people being in over their heads with the mortgage they took out."
According to the survey, at the time of foreclosure, 71% had lived in their home for more than 5 years.