The latest data for RealtyTrac shows a sharp jump in foreclosure activity, up 19% in May from the previous month and nearly twice the number of May 2006. Sad news for the 171,000 U.S. homeowners who received default notices or other foreclosure-related filings last month. There’s been some debate in the real estate industry as to what the data tells us. Has a bubble burst, as most people suspect? Are toxic, adjustable-rate mortgages taking their toll on speculators and others who overextended themselves in boom markets? Or is the data just a reflection of continuing tough times in rust belt states such as Illinois, Michigan and Ohio where folks are losing their jobs due to globalization. All three of those states appear among the top ten in terms of percentage of homes in foreclosure.
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